The Falkland Islands – History & Timeline

Falkland Wars 1480 – now!

1983 – 1999 Reconstruction

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1983 – January 1st, the Falkland Islanders become British Citizens again under the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983.

January 2nd, the 150th anniversary of the 1833 reoccupation is celebrated in the Falklands.

In Buenos Aires, Foreign Minister Juan Aguirre Lanari says that his country will continue pushing for sovereignty over the Islands and that; ”Illegal occupation may perhaps give the United Kingdom transitory control of the territory, but it will never grant it the full and legitimate sovereignty our country will continue to demand in every international forum.”

January 3rd, at the UN, Argentina reaffirms its claim to sovereignty over the archipelago.

January 8th, Margaret Thatcher arrives in the Falkland Islands to be greeted by Governor Rex Hunt, who tells her; This is a great moment in the history of the Falkland islands. For me personally it is probably the greatest moment of my life. It was here in Stanley Town Hall on the second of April that I told General Garcia that he had landed illegally on British territory and I ordered him and his troops to remove themselves forthwith. In reply General Garcia said that they were taking back what was rightfully theirs, and that they would be here for ever. But for our distinguished guest they might well have been…”

January 9th, the Islands’ issue a commemorative five-pound note to celebrate Margaret Thatcher’s visit to the Falkland Islands.

Margaret Thatcher is granted the Freedom of the Islands. She responds; “ .. as you know the whole British people were outraged that such an invasion should have occurred, and promptly set about remedying the situation of throwing the invader off the islands. … Today again the Union Jack flies over Port Stanley, and may it ever fly there. …”

January 12th, as Britain’s Prime Minister fly back to the UK, Argentina issue a statement in New York asserting that her visit to the territory has; “.. aggravated tension in the region.”

January 18th, the results of the inquiry by Lord Oliver Franks and his committee of Privy Councillors, are presented to Parliament; “ …  ‘we conclude that we would not be justified in attaching any criticism or blame to the present Government for the Argentine Junta’s decision to commit its act of unprovoked aggression in the invasion of the Falkland Islands on 2 April 1982.’..”

January 20th, asked by opposition MP, Tam Dalyell, whether the Government would establish an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the sinking of the Belgrano, PM Thatcher responds with a simple; “No.”

January 27th, at the UN, Britain responds to accusations that the Falklands are being “militarized” by pointing out that Argentina’s complaint forgot to mention their unprovoked attack in April, 1982 and the need of the UK to defend the Islanders from further attacks.

January 31st, following interest in Chile, Parliament is informed; “… a considerable number of Chileans have indicated an interest in emigrating to or working in the Falkland Islands. In consultation with the Falkland Islands Government, Her Majesty’s consul in Santiago has informed applicants that their interest has been recorded; that at present all immigration into the islands is constrained by practical considerations; and that applicants will be contacted again if the situation offers more hope at a later stage.”

In February, Darwin’s cemetery to the Argentine war dead is consecrated.

March 2nd, Queen Elizabeth II, during her visit to Los Angeles, thanks the US for its support during the Falklands War.

March 17th, The New York Times reports; “ An Argentine group opposed to British rule of the Falkland Islands has claimed responsibility for letter bombs sent Tuesday and Wednesday to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the European headquarters of the United States Navy. A man who said he represented the group told the Argentine press agency Diarios y Noticias that the group was also planning a series of attacks against British schools and institutions in Argentina in connection with the anniversary of the April 2, 1982, landing on the Falklands by Argentine troops.”

Argentina issues a stamp set commemorating the ‘First Recovery of the Malvinas, South Georgias and South Sandwich’. To the annoyance of Chile, Cape Horn is shown as Argentine territory.

March 30th, at the UN; Argentina drew attention to continuous public pronouncements by the highest British authorities that the United Kingdom was not prepared to negotiate on the sovereignty of the territories and asserted that that attitude was a challenge to the decisions of the Security Council and the Assembly.”

April 5th, 530 relatives of British dead, leave the UK for the Falklands.

April 30th, the Argentine Government prevents a cargo ship leaving for the Islands. The vessel has 400 relatives of Argentina’s dead aboard, but has not applied for British permission to travel to the archipelago.

May 18th, at the UN, Britain responds to the complaint of March 30th; “ … the continuing tension in the South Atlantic lay in the refusal of Argentina to declare a definitive cessation of hostilities and to renounce the use of force as a means of resolving the dispute.”

In June, a General Election returns the Conservative Party, and Margaret Thatcher to Government.

June 27th, a new airport for the Falklands is announced in the House of Commons.

June 28th, in a letter to the UN, Argentina declares that; “ … study of the 18 May letter and other statements by the British authorities indicated that the United Kingdom was not ready to seek a definitive negotiated solution to the sovereignty question but seemed bent on consolidating its illegal colonial presence in Argentine territory.”

July 16th, Argentina declares that the construction of a new airport; …. combined with the intention of establishing a naval base in the islands capable of accommodating nuclear submarines, showed that the United Kingdom planned to introduce nuclear weapons into the region as part of its global strategic design….”

August 5th, an Argentine naval aircraft, entering the exclusion zone, is challenged by the Royal Air Force.

August 10th, at the UN, Argentina claims that; .. on 1 August two fishing vessels, the Rivera Vasca and the Arcos, flying the Argentine flag and fishing in what it described as Argentine jurisdictional waters, were forced by British helicopters and a missile frigate to leave the area where the United Kingdom had illegally established a so-called exclusion zone.”

August 25th, the UK responds to the Argentine letters to the UN; .. the United Kingdom rejected the allegations that it was maintaining a climate of confrontation and militarizing the Falklands; it added that recent incursions by both Argentine military aircraft and unauthorized civilian vessels had demonstrated the continuing need for measures to defend the Islands.”

August 31st, in New York, the Special Committee meet to consider the Falklands – hearing petitions from Anthony Blake, John Cheek, Derek William Rozee and Alexander Jacob Betts.

September 14th, the Special Committee on Decolonisation notes ‘..with concern..’ the presence of a military base on Ascension Island and recalls the relevant Resolutions and decisions concerning military bases and installations in colonial and Non-Self-Government Territories.

October 30th, democratic elections are held in Argentina.

In November, the FIG recommends the imposition of an ‘exclusive fishing zone’ to reduce the uncontrolled fishing activities of foreign vessels; described as a “free for all” by the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs.

November 13th, Dante Caputo, Argentine Foreign Minister, says; “Argentinean Sovereignty over the Falklands is not negotiable. That is the starting point of negotiation.”

November 16th, UN Resolution 38/12 reiterates the General Assembly’s previous request for Argentina and the UK to resume negotiations; “ .. in order to find as soon as possible a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute relating to the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas)...”

Fiji, Qatar and Samoa said they abstained because the resolution failed to provide the population adequate opportunity to express their wishes about the future.”

December 7th, at the UN, the General Assembly adopt Resolution 38/54 on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. This Resolution directs the Special Committee to; “… pay particular attention to the small Territories, including the sending of visiting missions to them, as appropriate, and to recommend to the General Assembly the most suitable steps to be taken to enable the populations of those Territories to exercise their right to self-determination, freedom and independence:  ..”

December 10th, Raúl Alfonsín, in his inaugural speech to Congress; ” …  our undeniable objective is and it will always be their recovery and the definitive assertion of our Nation’s right to its sovereign territorial integrity.”

The South Atlantic Council, a pro-Argentine group, is established in the UK by George Foulkes MP, Cyril Townsend MP, Christopher Mitchel and Walter Little.

1984 – February 4th, in London, the FCO announces that a series of talks, via Swiss and Brazilian mediators, have been taking place with Argentina in an attempt to normalise relations. Margaret Thatcher confirms to Parliament; “We have no intention of negotiating on sovereignty.”

February 10th, t the UN, Argentina accuses the UK of committing acts of provocation against Argentine fishing vessels outside the protection zone. A proposal that UN peacekeepers be posted in the Falklands is rejected by the Foreign Secretary, Sir Geoffrey Howe; “ It has, over many years, been accepted in the United Nations that the administration and protection of the Falkland Islands is a clear British responsibility. It follows that there is no role for the United Nations in the protection of the Islands.” Minister Caputo says that he finds this, “incomprehensible”.

April 10th, in Stanley, a fire at the hospital 7 patients and a nurse, Barbara Chick.

April 26th, the Islands takes delivery of the Falklands Intermediate Port and Storage System (FIPASS).

General Sir Peter de la Billiere is appointed Commissioner and Commander of British forces in the Falklands.

July 18th, representatives from Argentina, Britain and Brazil meet in Berne, Switzerland on an understanding that sovereignty over the Falkland Islands is not an issue for discussion.

July 19th, the Falkland Islands’ Government grants an oil exploration licence to Firstland Oil and Gas PLC.

July 20th, the Berne talks collapse as a result of Argentina’s insistence that any agreement to resume diplomatic relations has to be linked to sovereignty talks; I took the greatest possible interest and the greatest possible care in arranging the scene for the talks in Berne … They broke down because the Argentine representatives took a position that ran directly counter to the basis for the negotiations that had been explicitly agreed by them in advance… the Argentine representatives insisted at Berne, in the face of the clear prior agreement to the contrary, that no progress could be made towards normalisation without the certainty that a mechanism would be established that would in practice lead to a transfer of sovereignty ”[Howe 1985]

“ … When the Argentines say that they want to negotiate sovereignty, they mean that they want to fix a date for the handover. Until they realise that that is not on offer, it is pointless talking about lease-back or other modifications.” (Kershaw 1985)

July 27th, Brazil and Switzerland issue a joint communique stating that; .. Argentina had reaffirmed it was necessary to establish machinery to discuss the sovereignty question, while the United Kingdom was not prepared to discuss the matter but had advanced several proposals which it said might lend themselves to negotiation; Argentina had replied that it was not prepared to go into those points if the sovereignty question could not be examined.”

August 2nd, Britain tells the UN; “ .. the best way to establish more normal relations with Argentina was to discuss practical issues such as resuming commercial relations, restoring air services, and a visit by Argentine next-of-kin to graves on the Falkland Islands, but Argentina was not prepared to negotiate on that basis.”

September 24th, resident Alfonsin, speaking to the General Assembly, affirms his country’s refusal to discuss the Falklands without the issue of sovereignty being included.

In October, in Parliament, the Foreign Affairs Committee produces a report concerning sovereignty over the Falklands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands – based on evidence taken the previous year. Whilst finding that Argentina’s claims to South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are not credible, the Committee is unable to reach a clear decision on the Falkland Islands; “The historical and legal evidence demonstrates such areas of uncertainty that we are unable to reach a categorical conclusion on the legal validity of the historic claims of either country.” The Committee notes; “significant disagreements .. about the Islands’ early history, particularly concerning the crucial period between .. 1811 and the British occupation of 1833.”

October 19th, announced in a press release from Stanley; “Firstland Oil and Gas P.L.C. said today that it is undertaking the first petroleum survey of the Falkland Islands since 1922.”

October 30th, at the UN, petitioners preparing to make speeches to the Fourth Committee during its consideration of Falklands decolonization are; “ .. Lionel G. Blake and John E. Cheek, members of the Falkland Islands Legislative Council, and Alexander Jacob Betts and Susan Coutts de Maciello, natives of the Falkland Islands.”

November 1st, in UN Resolution 39/06, the General Assembly again; “Reiterates its requestto the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to resume negotiations in order to find as soon as possible a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute and their remaining differences relating to the question of the Falkland Islands.”

In explanation of its opposition to the Resolution, the UK tells the General Assembly that; “.. the policy of the current Argentine Government on sovereignty and self-determination did not differ from its predecessors. The text was full of references to negotiations about sovereignty, it said, and, moreover, insinuated that the wishes of the population of the Falkland Islands might be open to negotiation. However, the principle of self-determination applied in the case of the Falklands just as in other cases; ..”

Other Member States also explain their position; “New Zealand opposed the resolution because it believed it did not adequately acknowledge the right of the Falklanders to a say in their future … Australia, Chad, Norway and Saint Lucia felt that the interests of the islanders were not adequately served by the text. .. Sweden felt it did not explicitly endorse or even refer to the fundamental principle of self-determination.”

November 14th, during a House of Commons debate, Parliamentary Under-Secretary Tim Renton, addresses a question regarding the latest UN Resolution; “ We voted against this resolution. It is not mandatory….”

November 25th, following rejection of the first two arbitration panel’s decisions regarding the Beagle Channel dispute between Argentina and Chile, the second Papal decision, again favouring Chile, is put to the people of Argentina in a national referendum. 82.6% of the population vote in favour of accepting the Pope’s decision and a Treaty with Chile is negotiated.

In December, at the UN, Argentina’s Foreign Minister asserts that any future negotiations with the UK have to include the question of sovereignty.

A statement is made to Parliament; It is clear that when referring to negotiations on sovereignty, the new Argentine Government is pursuing a policy essentially no different from that of its predecessors: that such negotiations, once begun, must lead eventually and inevitably to the relinquishment of the United Kingdom’s claim to and administration of the Falklands. It is the indivisibility of that link, as set out in all the approaches made to the subject by the Argentine Government, that is so totally contrary to any sensible foundation for discussion of other matters.”

1985 – Gordon Wesley Jewkes is appointed Governor.

January 2nd, Argentina responds to the Falklands’ press release regarding the survey by Firstland Oil & Gas by announcing that it does not recognise the UK’s right to explore for, or exploit, minerals or hydrocarbons.

January 24th, Britain answers by pointing out that the issue of an oil exploration licence; “ .. exemplified the exercise by the people of the Falkland Islands of the right freely to dispose of their natural resources.”

February 18th, Argentina complains to the UN that the UK is planning to reform the Constitution of the Falkland Islands; ..it added that, since the Islands’ inhabitants were not differentiated from the occupying Power, nor were they originally based in the territory, the misapplication of the principle of self-determination would only serve to validate an unlawful occupation.”

February 21st, in Washington, during a press conference at the British Embassy, PM Thatcher is asked whether she has any plans to restart talks with Argentina. Thatcher answers; No, certainly not! The Falkland Islands are under British sovereignty; their people wish most earnestly to stay British. Their wishes are paramount. That is a right to self-determination enshrined in the United Nations Charter. A nation now like Argentina, which has just come to democracy and has expressed its own self-determination, cannot require self-determination for itself and deny the same right to others.”

South Georgia and the South Sandwich islands are declared a separate British Overseas Territory under the control of a Commissioner.

ARA Sante Fe, beached at South Georgia in 1982, is declared too badly damaged to be salvaged and is towed out to deeper water where she is scuttled.

March 13th, in a letter to the Secretary-General, Britain tells the UN that the proposals for a new Falklands Constitution is consistent with its international obligations under both the Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The new constitution for the Falkland Islands contains one important new element. The island councillors expressed the view that the constitution should include a reference to their right of self-determination. We agree with them. Accordingly, the preamble to the human rights chapter of the constitution now recalls the provisions on self-determination from article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1966. The United Kingdom ratified it in 1976. …. Their right to self-determination will now be reflected in their constitution, and we shall uphold it.”

March 14th, in London, Foreign Secretary Howe announces that Britain will seek to negotiate a multilateral management agreement to control fishing in the South Atlantic. He also refers to the proposed Constitution which is to enshrine the Islanders’ right to determine their own future; “… the Argentine Government seek to deny the Falkland Islanders the right of self-determination. In our view, the Falkland Islanders, like any other people, have that right. They make up a peaceful and homogeneous community which has developed democratic institutions over more than a century.”

Sir Anthony Kershaw answers a question in the House of Commons; “I have no doubt that the British claim to sovereignty over the Falklands is sound in law. It must be granted that the various claims made before 1833 and the landings that took place present a somewhat confusing picture. The British occupation in 1833 was a legitimate and legally respectable action, which, having been followed by continuous occupation and administration, enthusiastically supported by the population, makes undeniably good our legal claim to sovereignty. The fact that the Argentines believe the opposite is irrelevant.”

March 18th, at the UN, Argentina claims that the UK is obligated by Art. 33 of the Charter to seek a peaceful settlement of the sovereignty dispute. Art.33 (1) states; The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.”

April 22nd, in Buenos Aires, General Galtieri and other members of the 1982 Junta are put on trial in a military court. Allegations include human rights violations during Argentina’s Dirty War and the mismanagement of the Falklands campaign. The Rattenbach Report, an internal investigation into Galtieri’s prosecution of the Falklands’ invasion, recommends that the General be stripped of all rank, dismissed and face a firing squad.

May 12th, on the Falklands, Prince Andrew officially opens Mount Pleasant airport.

May 16th, Argentina claims that the opening of a new airport represents an escalation in Britain’s “militarization” of the archipelago; being “incompatible” with the aims of the Antarctic Treaty; …contiguous to the geographical area covered by that agreement, to pursue its objectives in Antarctica.”

May 29th, responding, the British Government states; “.. that the new airport had a dual civil and military role. Its construction was necessary to deter aggression and defend the Islands against attack, and the presence of its forces contributed to peace and security in the region. Further, the United Kingdom denied a number of allegations made by Argentina, among them, that there was any North Atlantic Treaty Organization dimension to its involvement in the area; that it had introduced nuclear weapons into the South Atlantic; that the Falkland Islands was within the application of the Antarctic Treaty or that its activities contravened the Treaty’s purposes; or that the Charter obligation to the peaceful settlement of disputes required, irrespective of circumstances, recourse to negotiations.”

May 30th, the Organisation of American States adopt a Resolution expressing their concern at the establishment of military facilities in the Falklands. The USA and 9 Caribbean countries abstain.

July 8th, in Parliament, the British Government announces that; “.. the sovereignty question was not for discussion; that better relations with Argentina could only realistically be achieved by seeking agreement on practical issues; and that, as a step in that direction, it was lifting, with effect from midnight that day, the ban on imports from Argentina which had been in place since April 1982.”

July 10th, Buenos Aires welcomes the lifting of the import ban, but; “.. declared that the stable political conditions and mutual trust needed for trade relations required dealing with the central issue of sovereignty and eliminating the military threat and the so-called protection zone..” Argentina then invites the UK; “.. to initiate in the coming 60 days negotiations preceded by preparations either through the Secretary-General’s good offices or through friendly Powers… and expressed Argentina’s readiness formally to declare cessation of hostilities when the United Kingdom agreed to negotiate.”

July 12th, the UK’s mission to the UN calls Argentina’s answer; … a disappointing response to the lifting of the ban on Argentine imports, adding that the latter’s insistence on the sovereignty issue as a pre-condition for better bilateral relations was neither realistic nor constructive.”

July 29th, at the UN, “Argentina charged that on 25 July one of its naval aircraft on a maritime transit control flight was intercepted for 12 minutes by two United Kingdom Phantom aircraft within the 200-mile area of Argentina’s jurisdiction and more than 15 miles from the outer limit of the exclusion zone unilaterally set up around the Malvinas by the United Kingdom.”

August 2nd, answering the accusation, the UK says that; “.. two United Kingdom aircraft were dispatched for inspection. They identified it as an Argentine Electra but made no contact and did not harass it. The three aircraft were flying in international airspace and there was no justification for Argentina to describe this routine operation as blatantly provocative. .. as Argentina had not declared a formal cessation of hostilities and continued to purchase sophisticated weaponry, forces had to be maintained at the minimum level necessary to defend the Islands from attack.”

The Falkland Islands Development Corporation is established.

August 9th, at their meeting in New York, the Special Committee express; “ .. regret that the resumption of talks had not taken place due to the United Kingdom’s refusal to deal with the sovereignty issue..”

September 12th, at a press conference, Argentina’s Foreign Minister notes; … that the 60-day period within which Argentina had offered to resume negotiations had ended the previous day. He asserted that the blatant indifference shown by the United Kingdom demonstrated how little importance that country attached to United Nations decisions,…”

September 18th, in Paris, Argentina’s President meets with the leader of the British Labour Party, Neil Kinnock; “ Among a number of issues discussed at the meeting, Argentina reported that both sides had expressed the desire that negotiations be initiated to explore the means of resolving the outstanding problems between the two countries, including all aspects of the future of the Falkland Islands.”

October 3rd, under its new Constitution, the Falklands becomes a parliamentary representative democratic dependency. The Governor is the head of the Falkland Islands Government (FIG) as the Queen’s representative and retains responsibility for foreign affairs.

October 6th, David Steel, leader of the British Liberal Party, speaks to President Alfonsin in Madrid; “ .. the two sides agreed that the process of achieving a peaceful and negotiated solution to the dispute should include a formal cessation of hostilities and a lifting of the exclusion zone, the restoration of diplomatic and trade relations, and the resumption of negotiations on all issues concerning the future of the Falkland Islands, including sovereignty.”

November 14th, Argentina agrees to a study of the fisheries in the South Atlantic by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation.

November 27th, the General Assembly debate a draft-Resolution, forwarded from the Special Committee, calling for a renewal of negotiations between Britain and Argentina on the “problems pending between both countries” and including “all aspects on the future of the Falkland Islands.” Prior to the final vote two amendments are proposed by Britain which Argentina oppose – arguing that the amendments are prejudicial to their case for sovereignty and will favour the UK in any future negotiation.

The Assembly rejected, by recorded votes requested by Argentina, two amendments proposed by the United Kingdom. By 60 votes to 38, with 43 abstentions, it rejected a proposal to insert a new second preambular paragraph, by which the Assembly would have reaffirmed the right of all peoples to self-determination and “by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” Another proposal, to add the phrase “and the right thereunder of peoples to self- determination” at the end of paragraph 1, was rejected by 57 votes to 36, with 47 abstentions.”

At the end of the discussion, the General Assembly agree, by a recorded vote (107:4 with 41 abstentions), to adoptResolution 40/21 which again calls upon Argentina and the UK to commence negotiations, “.. with a view to finding the means to resolve peacefully and definitively the problems pending between both countries, including all aspects on the future of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations ”

In explanation of vote, Portugal said that, despite the undeniable merits in the draft, particularly with respect to the opportunities afforded for negotiations, it was wary of any text that could be construed in a way that failed to deal adequately with the global aspects stemming from the principle of self-determination. Solomon Islands felt that the lack of reference to the people of the Falkland Islands weakened the good intent of the draft …. Papua New Guinea said that another principal party not included in the negotiation process was the people of the Falkland Islands; it would have supported the text if it had included the principle of self-determination. The Federal Republic of Germany and Ireland, which had voted for the amendments because of the importance of self-determination, had abstained on the resolution to reflect their wish not to take a position on the merits of the dispute. Maldives believed that a question involving the future of a people should accommodate the interests of the people concerned. Belize voted for the amendments to ensure protection of the rights of the people of the Falkland Islands to self-determination.

Also supporting the amendments, Samoa believed that the right of self-determination could have been more explicit in the draft, and Fiji added that the call for negotiations should not be at the cost of the fundamental right of the Falkland Islanders to have a say in their own future. Welcoming the conciliatory nature of the draft resolution, Botswana also supported the amendments, saying that the Falkland Islanders were entitled to the right to self-determination. For Barbados, the phrase “all aspects of the future of the Falkland Islands” in paragraph 1 seemed to leave the door open for a discussion  of  both sovereignty and self-determination; … A number of delegations, considering the draft resolution to be constructive, also felt the adoption of the amendments would have further strengthened the text and voted in favour of both the amendments and the draft resolution. Among them, the Sudan thought the amendments would have increased the effectiveness of the text, even though the principle was already contained therein. …

Austria, Barbados, Chile, Italy, Samoa, Somalia and Trinidad and Tobago understood the reference in the draft to the United Nations Charter to include all the principles and rights embodied in that document.”  (UN Yearbook 1985)

Two British amendments reaffirming the right to self-determination of peoples in general and the Falkland Islanders in particular were voted down 60-38, with 43 abstentions, and 57-36, with 47 abstentions. Although the sponsors presented the adopted resolution as neutral, it was a smiling Argentine Foreign Minister Dante M. Caputo who accepted the congratulations of delegates. Argentina was not among the resolution’s 13 sponsors, but British Ambassador Sir John Thomson contended during the two-day debate that the resolution was ”100 percent made in Argentina” – an allegation denied by the sponsors. After the vote, Thomson told the Assembly that the British delegation had ”voted for self-determination and against an unbalanced resolution. We regret the result. The Falkland Islanders also regret it. We are all disappointed over the attitude taken towards a fundamental principle of the United Nations.’…

Several countries that voted against the British amendments on Wednesday explained that they did not oppose the principle of self-determination, but felt its inclusion in the resolution would add an issue of substance to what was essentially a procedural resolution aimed at getting the two sides to the negotiating table. The United States and a number of Britain’s other allies abstained on the British amendments and supported the resolution.

Even Britain conceded that the new resolution was a ”considerable improvement” over three previous Assembly resolutions on the issue that called for a ”peaceful solution of the sovereignty dispute.” Instead, it requests the two governments ”to initiate negotiations with a view to find a means to resolve peacefully and definitively the problems pending between both countries, including all aspects on the future of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.”… “ (Associated Press)

December, Margaret Thatcher sends a Christmas Message to the Falkland Islanders; “ You in the Falkland Islands were born to freedom, born to democracy, and we must cherish and nurture it. We can never be complacent about it. At the heart of democracy is the right of every man and woman to have his or her say in how he or she is to be governed. That is what the British way of life is all about. You know that we are committed to protecting your right to determine your own future …”

1986 – January, Britain again withdraws its cooperation from the Special Committee on Decolonization in frustration over the Committee’s refusal to recognise the changing nature of the UK’s relationship with its remaining Overseas Territories. Britain reserves the right to speak in debates on the Falklands.

The five-yearly population census reveals that there are 1916 people on the Islands, excluding military personnel, their families and others present in connection with the military garrison.

April 1st, a survey of Falkland Islanders is carried out by Marplan and supervised by the Electoral Reform Society asking; What kind of sovereignty do you want for the Falkland Islands?” 94.5% of respondents opt for ‘British sovereignty.’ Only 1.5% opt for ‘Independence.’

May 16th, General Leopoldo Galtieri, Admiral Jorge Anaya and General Basilio Lami Dozo are convicted by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces for negligence under Article 740 of the Code of Military Justice in relation to their attack on the Falklands in 1982.

May 28th, a Taiwanese flagged trawler, Chian-de 3, illegally fishing, is machine-gunned and sunk by an Argentine Coast Guard vessel some 24 nautical miles outside the 200 nautical mile Falklands Exclusion Zone. The action is described by the British Government as; “unjustifiable and excessive.”

May 31st, The New York Times reports; “Britain has condemned Argentina for attacking Taiwan fishing trawlers near the Falkland Islands and said it called earlier this week for an end to harassment of the vessels. The Foreign Office said Thursday that the action ”amounts to an attempt to pursue a sovereignty claim by force. The Argentine Government said a coast guard cutter fired on the trawlers, one of which was set afire and abandoned Wednesday, after the trawlers were found operating within the 200-mile fishing limit Argentina claims. A Taiwan fisheries official in the Falklands said that a crewman from the Chiann-Der 3, the trawler set afire, was killed and that three were wounded.”

In July, Argentina signs bilateral fishing agreements with the Soviet Union and Bulgaria, allowing fishing vessels to fish in areas near the Falkland Islands.

In August, Argentina again complains to the UN that British aircraft are harassing Argentine fishing vessels. The UK denies the allegations, stating that the vessels were within the British zone and had only been approached in order to confirm their identity.

August 12th, the Special Committee considers the Falklands question; The United Kingdom, the administering Power concerned, did not participate; it had informed the Committee in January that it would no longer take part in the Committee’s work..”

August 14th, the Secretary-General tells the Special Committee that the two country’s; .. positions remained essentially unchanged, he said, with the United Kingdom remaining committed to improving bilateral relations with Argentina over practical matters, setting aside the sovereignty issue, … and to defending the rights of the Falkland Islands to self-determination.”

September 22nd, the UK complains to the UN regarding Argentina’s agreements with the Soviet Union and Bulgaria; ..at a time when a technical study is under way by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) that could pave the way for a multilateral agreement on long-term conservation measures.”

September 26th, Britain warns the USSR and Bulgaria that its agreements with argentina are contrary to international law.

October 27th, UN Resolution 41/11 creates a South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone in the South Atlantic which aims to reduce militarization; the presence of foreign military bases and nuclear weapons.

October 29th, the UK informs the UN that it is introducing a Falkland Islands Interim Conservation and Management Zone (FICZ) around the archipelago to conserve fish stocks; “.. the British government hereby declares that:- The Falkland Islands are entitled under international law to fishery limits of a maximum of 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measures. The maximum extent of these limits is also subject to the need for a boundary with Argentina in areas where arcs of 200 nautical miles from Argentina and the Falkland Islands overlap. In the absence of any agreement, the British Government hereby declares that: The boundary is that prescribed by the rules of international law concerning the delimination of maritime jurisdiction…. The continental shelf around the Falkland Islands extends to a distance of 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the territorial sea of the Falkland Islands is measured or to such other limit as is prescribed by rules of international law, including those concerning the delimination of maritime jurisdiction between neighbours.”

In the British Parliament, the Government explain the need for new legislation; “.. The Government are determined that there should be adequate protection for the fishery. In view of the failure of Argentina to co-operate in a multilateral approach, we have therefore decided to establish unilaterally a conservation and management regime.”

October 30th, Argentina calls the UK’s claim to control fishing resources and jurisdiction over the continental shelf; “ .. juridically and politically inadmissible.”

October 31st, Argentina sends a Diplomatic Note to the UK, via Brazil, rejecting Britain’s claims and reaffirming its own sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; the surrounding maritime waters, sea-bed and marine sub-soil.

November 2nd, Defence Minister Horacio Juanarena tells reporters, “ It’s our zone.” Leave is cancelled for military conscripts in Argentina.

November 3rd, at the UN, Argentina – referring to the FICZ – claims that; “.. the United Kingdom’s declaration …  was a violation of General Assembly recommendations … the pretext of concern for marine resources conservation was a cover for its unilateral move to improve its position in the sovereignty controversy.”

November 15th, at a press conference in Washington DC, Margaret Thatcher is asked about the Falklands in connection with both fisheries and sovereignty. She replies; I explained to the President the view we had taken on the question of fisheries round the Falklands. I told him that in April 1985 we approached the Food and Agriculture Organisation to try to get a multi-lateral agreement on fisheries. … Argentine was not cooperative.Indeed, towards the end of that time, she made her own bilateral arrangements with other countries over fisheries that were within 200 miles of the Falklands and therefore technically were within our area, although we only have the Falkland Islands protection zone to 150 miles. …we, being unable to get anywhere with our efforts to have a multilateral agreement, decided that we too must reassert our position and we have reasserted it over the conservation of fisheries within 150 miles of the Falklands. I am not prepared to discuss the sovereignty of the Falklands at all. The view we have taken is that the sovereignty is British; that the people of the Falkland Islands, their wishes are paramount in this matter.”

November 17th, Argentina expresses a willingness to negotiate on matters unconnected with sovereignty – such as trade, consular and diplomatic relations, transport and communications, and fishing resources but adds that any formal announcement ending hostilities is dependant upon the UK lifting its ‘military protection zone.’

November 19th, the UK rejects Argentina’s offer.

November 21st, at the UN, the UK; .. responding to the 30 October and 3 November letters from Argentina, stated that its 29 October declaration respected the rights that Argentina might legitimately claim under international law; that the declaration was aimed at fish-stock conservation, not at bolstering Britain’s sovereignty over the Falkland Islands; that it was Argentina which had sought to use the fisheries issue to advance its sovereignty claim; and that the United Kingdom rejected Argentina’s claim to sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. It added that the Interim Conservation and Management Zone, proclaimed by the Governor of the Falkland Islands on 29 October, did not extend beyond the protection zone it had set up as a defensive measure.”

November 24th, Dr. Caputo, speaking at the UN, accuses Britain of; “an expansionist logic which seeks to expand, whatever the cost may be, its illegal occupation of the maritime and insular territory of Argentina.”

November 25th, at the UN, the General Assembly considers Falklands decolonization; “In the plenary debate, Argentina declared that the situation had worsened, with the United Kingdom introducing a new and alarming factor as a result of its 29 October declaration which, it charged, sought to expand British domination over the area. Stating that the sovereignty dispute with the United Kingdom dated back to 1833, Argentina said that all United Kingdom action was aimed at asserting its purported sovereignty, while everything Argentina was doing was aimed at recovering its sovereignty.

The United Kingdom asserted that the sovereignty issue had dogged attempts to make progress in Anglo-Argentine relations, that Argentina continued to reject United Kingdom efforts to reestablish contacts and rebuild mutual confidence, and that the people of the Falkland Islands should be allowed to exercise their right to self-determination. … In its view, the Argentine proposal of 17 November on formal cessation of hostilities was laden with conditions; the United Kingdom remained ready to discuss everything except sovereignty and, while there was a sovereignty dispute, the essential question was that of self-determination.”

On its adoption by the General Assembly, UN Resolution 41/40, repeats its call of the previous year for; “ ..  the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to initiate negotiations with a view to finding the means to resolve peacefully and definitively the problems pending between both countries, including all aspects on the future of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations..”

In explanation of vote, Argentina said the text contained a procedural request to the two parties to negotiate on all aspects on the future of the islands; the international community had recognized the dispute as that of sovereignty. The United Kingdom said the text, despite its seductive simplicity and cosmetic appeal, was pro-Argentine in calling for negotiations on “all aspects” and thus supporting the Argentine contention that sovereignty must be discussed. …

Oman expressed hope that a balanced text would be produced in the future for approval by consensus. Sri Lanka said the draft should have stressed the right of the peoples to be consulted on their future constitutional status; merely urging the two parties to resolve the conflict was insufficient… Botswana called for negotiations on solving the dispute in all its aspects, while upholding the right of the inhabitants to self-determination.”

In December, the FIG declare a 160-nautical-mile radius Fisheries Conservation & Management Zone. Annual licenses are issued by the Falklands Fisheries Department permitting foreign vessels to fish within the area.

December 22nd, at the Hague, the ICJ gives its opinion in a frontier dispute between Burkina Faso and the Republic of Mali – “In the preamble to their Special Agreement, the Parties stated that the settlement of the dispute should be “based in particular on respect for the principle of the intangibility of frontiers inherited from colonization”,…. In these circumstances, the Chamber cannot disregard the principle of uti possidetis juris, … Although this principle was invoked for the first time in Spanish America, it is not a rule pertaining solely to one specific system of international law. It is a principle of general scope, logically connected with the phenomenon of the obtaining of independence, wherever it occurs. Its obvious purpose is to prevent the independence and stability of new States being endangered by fratricidal struggles provoked by the challenging of frontiers following the withdrawal of the administering power. … The principle of un possidetis juris accords pre-eminence to legal tide over effective possession as a basis of sovereignty. Its primary aim is to secure respect for the territorial boundaries which existed at the time when independence was achieved. When those boundaries were no more than delimitations between different administrative divisions or colonies all subject to the same sovereign, the application of this principle resulted in their being transformed into international frontiers, …  If the principle of uti possidetis has kept its place among the most important legal principles, this is by a deliberate choice on the part of African States.”

[Author’s note: Argentine lawyer, Marcelo Kohen, asserts that this case demonstrates that uti possidetis juris is a ‘general rule’ within intentional law. However, it must be noted that the parties to this dispute had agreed to the applicability of the principle prior to the commencement of the case and the ICJ recognised uti possidetis juris as a ‘general rule’ only after noting that previous agreement. There has been no instance of the ICJ imposing this principle upon a party to a sovereignty dispute that has not agreed to recognise it or has disputed its applicability.]

1987 – in January, the USA offers to act as a mediator in the dispute over the Falklands’ fisheries.

January 31st, Argentina accepts that it will not send its ships to patrol within the 150 mile zone around the Falklands – but insists that this is not to be seen as any recognition of Britain’s sovereignty within the zone.

February 1st, wo fisheries protection vessels and an aircraft are now available to monitor the zone.

Between February 1st and March 12th, 74 fishing vessels are boarded and checked; while 100 licences are issued to 50 vessels by the FIG.

August 14th, at the Special Committee hearings in New York, the Committee; “ … regretted that implementation of the Assembly resolutions on the question had not started, urged the parties to resume negotiations and reiterated its support for the renewed good offices of the Secretary-General to assist them.”

In November, within the UN, the Secretary-General submits a report; “ .. stating that during 1987 he had discussed the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) on a number of occasions with the two parties and had concluded that conditions had not sufficiently evolved for him to carry out the Assembly’s mandate. … While both parties in the past year had shown restraint, the Secretary-General regretted that they had not begun the dialogue consistent with the 1986 Assembly resolution.”

November 17th, UN Resolution 42/19 again; “ .. the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to initiate negotiations with a view to finding the means to resolve peacefully and definitively the problems pending between both countries, including all aspects on the future of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations…”

In explaining why it voted against the Resolution, the UK says that the wording prejudices the UK’s position, and makes no mention of the rights of the Islanders. The spokesman adds; “ .. that the Falklands had been British for longer than Argentina had been Argentine, and that there had been no indigenous inhabitants…”

Argentina felt that the text set forth the essence of what should be the approach to dealing with problems, tensions and conflicts-negotiation. There was no question that there was a dispute. It was not an arbitrary or unilateral question raised by Argentina alone, but something that began with the occupation of the islands in 1833…”

Sri Lanka believed that the wishes of the islanders should take precedence over other considerations and that they should express their views before any decisions were taken towards implementing the text. … Iran was not oblivious to the principle of self-determination, but believed that it was not the only pertinent principle …”

1988 – William Hugh Fullerton takes over as Governor of the Falkland Islands.

February 11th, Argentina complains to the UN that British forces are planning military exercises.

March 8th, in Parliament, the PM responds to a question; “ Yes. We have not merely every right to hold such an exercise in the Falklands Islands, but a duty to see that reinforcement proposals could in fact be carried out, otherwise we should have to keep more of our armed forces down there. It is no one else’s business, ..”

March 11th, Argentina writes to the UN Security Council requesting a discussion about the planned exercises.

March 17th, at the UN, the Security Council listen to Argentina; “… the United Kingdom, by its show of force in the area, at a time when indirect contacts had been under way to improve the situation, was posing a threat to international peace. The United Kingdom had consistently refused to consider the matter of sovereignty.

Exercising its right of reply, the UK tells the Council that; “… it was determined to prevent another catastrophe such as the 1982 invasion of the islands by over 10,000 Argentine troops. It chose to meet its obligation to safeguard the security of the people of the islands by maintaining the smallest possible garrison there while establishing the means to reinforce it rapidly. Since 1982 the United Kingdom had made clear that occasional reinforcement exercises would be necessary; the current one involved a small number of aircraft and fewer than 1,000 troops, which could hardly be considered a threat. …”

Having heard the parties, no conclusions are drawn by the Council and there is no statement.

In April and May, vessels from the Republic of Korea are arrested on four occassions in April and May for fishing illegally within the Falkland Islands’ Interim Conservation and Management Zone and fined a total of £260,000 by magistrates in Port Stanley. A Polish vessel receives an administrative penalty of £1,000 for the unlicensed trans-shipment of fish.

July 28th. Lord Trefgarne answers questions in the House of Lords; My Lords, the revenue to the Falkland Islands Government for 1987–88 is estimated at £1865 million. This does not include the joint venture premiums payable by the Stanley Fisheries Company Ltd. Against that must be set the estimated enforcement and scientific costs, which are of the region of £6 million for 1988–89. There is clearly a substantial new revenue for the Falkland Islands Government which they did not have before. Our aid as such to the Falkland Islands is now at a comparatively low level. Indeed, I think it is zero for this year.”

The FIG purchases the FIPASS dock from the Ministry of Defence.

August 11th, during its deliberations at the UN, the Special Committee restates its belief that; “ .. the way to end the special and particular colonial situation was through a negotiated settlement. ”

November 11th, the Fourth Committee hears petitions from FIG Councillors John Cheek and C. Keenleyside . The meeting also hears statements from Barbara Minto de Pennissi  and Mrs. Coutts de Maciello.  John Cheek tells the Committee that the majority of the land belonged to the Islanders, and that the drain of profits to absentee landowners, some of them in Argentina, had been virtually stopped. The Councillors answer questions put to them by the representatives of the UK, Argentina and Papua New Guinea.

November 17th, the General Assembly adopt Resolution 43/25  requesting Britain and Argentina; “ .. initiate negotiations with a view to finding the means to resolve peacefully and definitively the problems pending between both countries, including all aspects on the future of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations..”

1989 at a UNESCO conference, the International Meeting of Experts for the Elucidation of the Concepts of Rights of Peoples, agrees a detailed description of those peoples entitled to the right of self-determination. Known as the Kirby Definition, this identifies a people as; “ .. a group of individual human beings who enjoy some or all of the following common features: (a) a common historical tradition; (b) racial or ethnic identity; (c) cultural homogeneity (d) linguistic unity; (e) religious or ideological affinity; (f) territorial connection; (g) common economic life. The UNESCO experts further stated that “the group as a whole must have the will to be identified as a people or the consciousness of being a people,…”

May 14th, Carlos Menem is elected President of Argentina. In his inaugural speech to Congress, President Carlos Menem says, ” … as President …I am going to dedicate the largest and the most important effort, in a cause I will fight with the law and the right in the hand. It will be a great Argentine cause: the recovery of our Malvinas, South Georgias, and South Sandwich Islands.”

July 9th, Menem makes a speech in Olivos; “We want to begin a discussion, a dialogue that leads to the restoration of diplomatic relations with Great Britain.”

July 13th, the Chicago Tribune reports; The government of Argentina could formally declare an end to hostilities over the Falkland Islands if Britain takes comparable steps, … The state news agency Telam said Menem, asked whether his government would be willing to declare an end to hostilities, said: “Yes, to be able to start talks. But some basic gestures would be necessary on Britain’s part, namely allowing Argentina into the (fishing) exclusion zone…”

August 15th, the Special Committee at its annual consideration regarding Falklands’ decolonization, recommends that Argentina and the UK to resume negotiations.

August 18th, in accordance with Resoution 43/25, Britain and Argentina agree to commence substantive talks on restoring diplomatic relations. The two countries also agree that, ‘‘where necessary, discussion would take place under the terms of a formula to protect the position of each side with regard to sovereignty or territorial and maritime jurisdiction over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.”

September 25th, President Carlos Menem addresses the United Nations; ‘‘I want to reassert that we will fight unstintingly and peacefully to recover our Malvinas Islands with reason and perseverance.”

October 11th, General Galtieri, Admiral Anaya and General Dozo, all serving terms of imprisonment, receive Presidential pardons and are released.

October 17th, negotiating teams meet in Madrid under an agreed “sovereignty-umbrella” formula which states; “No act or activity that the Republic of Argentina, the United Kingdom or any third parties carried out as a consequence of and in the execution of that which is agreed upon in the present meeting or in any subsequent meeting, can constitute the basis for confirming, supporting or denying the rights of the Argentine Republic or the United Kingdom relating to the sovereignty or territorial and maritime jurisdiction over the Falklands and South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas.”

October 19th, negotiations result in an agreement to resume consular relations.

The Secretary-General submits his annual report to the UN; “… the two Governments agreed to a formula protecting the position of each side with regard to sovereignty or territorial and maritime jurisdiction over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and surrounding maritime areas. They also noted that all hostilities between them had ceased and agreed to re-establish consular relations.”

November 1st, at the UN; the General Assembly decided to defer consideration of the Falkland Islands question and to include it in the provisional agenda of its forty-fifth (1990) session.”

December 22nd, PM Thatcher delivers her Christmas Message to the Falkland Islanders; “ … Now you will have heard about our discussions with the new Argentine Government. We want to improve ordinary commercial and diplomatic relations because that is in the interests of us all, including the Falkland Islands. It will help so much in practical ways. But right from the start we have made clear that we will not negotiate on sovereignty. That will remain our position and we shall uphold our commitments and responsibilities to you, the people of the Islands.”

1990 – January 1st, the United Nations declares the 1stInternational Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism; “… aimed at ushering in the twenty-first century a world  free from colonialism.

Commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the Declaration, the Assembly recognized the significant and commendable role played by the United Nations since its inception in the field of decolonization and noted that, during that period, more than 100 States had achieved sovereignty. The Assembly expressed its determination to take effective measures leading to complete and unconditional elimination of colonialism in all its forms and manifestations without further delay.”

Authority over the British Antarctic Territory transfers from a High Commissioner in the Falklands, to a Commissioner in London.

Aerovias DAP, a Chilean company, establishes an air link between Punta Arenas and Mount Pleasant Airport.

February 14th, delegations from Argentina and the UK meet again in Madrid for two days of talks.

Both reaffirmed the formula on sovereignty … agreed on in October 1989. Under the terms of that formula, they decided to establish an “Interim reciprocal information and consultation system ” for movements of units of their armed forces in areas of the south-west Atlantic, in order to increase confidence between the two countries and to contribute to achieving a more normal situation in the region without unnecessary delay; to establish a direct communication link between the Falkland Islands and the mainland in order to reduce the possibility of incidents, limit their consequences in the case of occurrence, and increase common knowledge of military activities in the south-west Atlantic; to agree on a set of rules of reciprocal behaviour for naval and air units when operating in proximity; to agree on a mechanism for emergencies aimed at facilitating air and maritime search and rescue operations in the south-west Atlantic; to establish a system of exchange of information on the safety and control of air and maritime navigation; …

Both Governments further agreed that they should proceed to exchange available information on the operations of fishing fleets, appropriate catch and stocks of the most significant offshore species in the maritime area of the Atlantic Ocean between the latitudes 45 and 60 degrees S. … To continue considering the issues discussed, a Working Group on South Atlantic Affairs was to be set up.

Further consideration was given to the situation with regard to contacts between the Falkland Islands and the mainland, with the United Kingdom recognizing Argentina’s readiness to facilitate communications and trading opportunities. Both countries expressed agreement to a visit to the cemetery on the Falkland Islands, under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), by close relatives of Argentine nationals buried there. … Further agreement was reached on abolishing visas for nationals of each country wishing to visit the other, …”

February 21st, a Joint Statement outlining these agreements is sent to the United Nations.

March 31st, the agreements come into force and the UK cancels its protection zone. Within the terms of the arrangements, the FIG declares a Falklands Outer Conservation Zone lying between the perimeter of the FICZ and the 200-nautical-mile economic zone boundary.

August 14th, he Special Committee consider the Falklands during its annual session at the UN. Adopting a draft submitted by Venezuela, the Committee notes the agreements reached during the year but, ignoring the stated acceptance of a ‘sovereignty-umbrella’ considers that; “ .. the new process of dialogue and co-operation between Argentina and the United Kingdom should facilitate the resumption of the negotiations in order to find a peaceful solution to the dispute over sovereignty.”

Research in Argentina indicates that the Falklands Question is no longer an important foreign policy issue for many Argentines.

September 23rd, the UK and Argentina notify the Secretary-General that they have agreed a communication and consultation system between their military authorities together with other agreements concerned with maritime and air search and rescue, safety of navigation and an air control zone.

November 28th, Argentina and Britain agree the creation of The South Atlantic Fisheries Commission.

December 12th, at the UN, the General Assembly takes no action, but includes; “ .. the item entitled “Question of the Falkland islands” in the provisional agenda of its forty-sixth (1991) session.”

All C24 resolutions on UK OTs reach the UNGA, except that on the Falklands (a position agreed by the UK and Argentina since the resumption of bilateral relations in 1989/90).”

John MajorDecember 24th, in a Christmas Message, PM John Major says about the current Gulf crisis; “ Our armed forces are there to help recover the liberty and independence of a small country, precisely as they did for the Falklands in 1982.”

1991 358 relatives of the Argentine war dead visit the Islands’ cemetery at Darwin.

The population census reveals that there are 2,091 people on the Islands, excluding military personnel, their families and others present in connection with the military garrison. All agricultural land holdings still belonging to the Falkland Islands Company are sold to the FIG.

In September, the UK and Argentina amends the Madrid Agreement of 1990 with regard to the Interim Reciprocal Information System as it applies to military vessels.

November 13th, he General Assembly defer the question of the Falkland Islands for another year.

November 22nd, in Stanley, the Governor proclaims; “ .. for the purposes of international law, the continental shelf around the Falkland Islands extends .. to a distance of 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured or to such other limit as prescribed by the rules of international law, including rules for the delimitation of maritime jurisdiction between neighbours… Any rights exercisable over the seabed and subsoil of the continental shelf, including the natural resources thereof, beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea around the Falkland Islands are hereby vested in Her Majesty.”

In response, Argentina’s Government promulgates a DecreeAct 23968 – applying Argentine sovereignty over an “Exclusive Economic Zone” covering the whole continental shelf and embracing the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

In December, the South Atlantic Fisheries Commission convenes in London.

December 4th, representatives meet to consider proposals for further cooperation. Agreement is reached to establish a ‘High Level Group’ in an attempt to make progress.

1992– David Everard Tatham is appointed as Governor.

January 1st, the Falkland Islands police force is granted the prefix ‘Royal’ by HM The Queen in recognition of 146 years of loyal service.

January 10th is designated as ‘Margaret Thatcher Day‘ in the islands to commemorate her visit in 1983.

A team led by Dr. Robert Philpott of Liverpool University, conducts an archaeological survey of Port Egmont.

In April, President Menem, on the 10th anniversary of the Falklands War promises that the Islands will return to Argentina before the year 2000.

In May, the South Atlantic Fisheries Commission meets in Buenos Aires.

July 1st, in Parliament, a Government spokesman answers a question; “ … the issue of licences in the Falkland Islands control zone is decided by the Falkland Islands Government. The revenue from fisheries is doing well. It went up in 1991–92 to some £25 million. The fisheries income is being well used for secondary schools and other necessary needs of the Falkland Islands.”

An Ungentlemanly Act, a BBC film about the early days of the Falklands War, is aired on British television.

July 29th, the Special Committee considers the Falklands question at its annual meeting. Chile submits a draft-Resolution calling for sovereignty negotiations which is adopted by the Committee without a vote.

September 21st, Argentina’s Foreign Minister tells the General Assembly; “.. the dispute concerning sovereignty over the Malvinas, Georgia and South Sandwich Islands still persists. Today I reaffirm the sovereign rights of my country over these territories and their maritime areas. The permanent defence and reaffirmation of these inalienable rights are at the core of Argentine foreign policy.”

November 10th, the General Assembly defer the Falklands issue, without consideration, for another year.

November 24th, the South Atlantic Fisheries Commission meets in London.

In December, reports in the press suggest that Argentina is offering half-priced licences and an extended fishing season, to vessels operating within Argentine waters, in an attempt to lure Japanese and Taiwanese ships away from the Falklands fishing grounds.

1993 – in January, prior to a visit by Foreign secretary Hurd to Argentina, the British Government issues a statement; “.. Her Majesty’s Government welcomed the Argentine wish for a relationship of confidence and cooperation. At the same time, the United Kingdom was committed to defending the right of the Falkland Islanders to live under a Government of their own choosing…”

In April, Menem’s Government proposes that, in exchange for sovereignty, Argentina compensates the Islanders.

May 7th, the Commissioner for South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands issues a Proclamation extending and strengthening the conservation and management of maritime resources around the two islands.

Argentina responds; “ .. The Argentine Government strongly rejects this measure, reaffirms the legitimate rights of sovereignty of the Argentine Republic over the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and recalls that these territories form part of the dispute concerning sovereignty which the United Nations recognizes and is keeping under consideration.”

June 25th, the World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna adopts a Declaration recognising; “ … the right of peoples to take any legitimate action, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, to realize their inalienable right of self-determination. The World Conference on Human Rights considers the denial of the right of self-determination as a violation of human rights and underlines the importance of the effective realization of this right. “

July 12th, a Joint Declaration on military confidence building measures in the South-West Atlantic is announced. These measures include – a direct communication system between the Argentine military authorities in Comodoro Rivadavia and Ushuaia and the British in the Falkland Islands; a mechanism for advance communication of the approach of military vessels to the coasts controlled by the other party; security measures for air and naval units operating nearby; the exchange of information and the coordination of activities in cases of search and rescue at sea; the provision of sea-related information by the British party to the Argentine Party, which is in charge of Navarea 6 of the International Maritime Organization.

Agreement is also reached on the control of air traffic, as Mount Pleasant airport reports to the Comodoro Rivadavia Flight Information Region, in pursuance of International Civil Aviation Organisation rules.

July 14th, the Special Committee commences its annual consideration of Falkland’s decolonization.

Venezuela introduces a draft-Resolution calling for renewed negotiations on the issue of sovereignty. Argentina’s Foreign Minister addresses the Committee; “.. He noted that various General Assembly resolutions, particularly resolutions 2065 (XX) of 16 December 1965, 3160 (XXVIII) of 14 December 1973, and 37/9 of 4 November 1982, had recognized that there was a sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom and had established that it must be resolved by negotiations, taking into account the interests of the population of the Islands. Argentina considered that the dispute must be resolved in conformity with paragraph 6 of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960, which granted pre-eminence to the principle of territorial integrity in the decolonization of territories that previously belonged to a State. …. although Argentina had no direct formal contacts with the islanders, in effect a dialogue without intermediaries had begun: in recent months he had personally exchanged letters with islanders, had spoken to the islands by radio, television and had personal meetings with some young islanders in London. Argentina’s desire was that the islanders would one day change their minds on the substantive question as that would have a considerable impact on the position of the United Kingdom and significantly increase the chances of finding a satisfactory solution. ….”

The draft-Resolution is adopted by the Special Committee without a vote. In statements by the permanent representatives of Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone and Trinidad & Tobago, all said that they would have preferred the inclusion in the text of specific references to the principle of self-determination.

August 12th, the Buenos Aires Herald publishes an article by Sir Alan Walters announcing that, in April, Argentine diplomats had offered up to $700,000 dollars in compensation for each Islander if the UK would agree to cede sovereignty. Reproduced in The Independent newspaper, the article suggests that; “..  a referendum on a cash settlement should be called. Argentina and Britain should name bankers, place compensation cash in an escrow account, and if the vote is to accept, the money would be paid out directly to each islander.” Walters is quoted as adding that, “The British foreign Office would tend to shrug off any such proposals – after all the status quo is peaceful and it avoids any of the emotional trauma that would accompany, inevitably, I fear, a transfer of sovereignty.. “

In October, the South Atlantic Fisheries Commission meet in Buenos Aires.

November 16th, the General Assembly defer the question of the Falkland Islands for another year.

In December, in his Christmas Message to the Falklands, PM John Major says that the central plank of British policy was one of; “ .. resolute, unflinching support for self-determination.”

1994 – January 3rd, Argentina, on the anniversary of the lowering of their flag at Puerto Louis, issues a press release that starts; “Upon the completion of yet another year of British occupation of the Malvinas Islands…”

Argentina’s Defence Ministry drop their claim that the sinking of the ARA Belgrano was a ‘war crime’, and accept that it was a ‘legal act of war’.

January 18th, the Treaty of Tlatelolco is ratified by Argentina, 26 years after first applying its signature.

February 17th, Argentina notifies the UN that it has offered to assist in clearing the land mines it laid on the archipelago in 1982; “.. thus demonstrating willingness to facilitate a solution of all problems relating to the question and to develop a growing dialogue with the inhabitants of the territory.”

April 9th, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, visits the Falkland Islands.

At a press conference in Stanley,.. Mr. Hurd, said that it was now perfectly clear to the islanders, to the Argentines, and to everyone else that the United Kingdom upheld its sovereignty of the Falklands. British sovereignty, he continued, rested on two very strong foundations: the wishes of the Falklanders and the protection of the British armed forces. As regards future contacts with Argentina, … He had found strong feelings against contact with Argentina among people of all ages and considered that these were understandable in view of what had happened 12 years ago. However, it was not his business to come from London and tell the islanders what to do; they would have to make up their own minds”

May 4th, back in London, Hurd answers questions in the House of Commons. On the issue of Falklands’ oil he says; “ .. we expect to have discussions with the Argentines about oil before long. The islanders, I found, were interested in exploiting and benefiting from the oil if – it is still a big if – it is found to exist in marketable conditions. We have not excluded co-operation with Argentine interests in this, but it is clear from our general policy that any arrangements of that kind must not prejudice our sovereignty over the islands.”

June 6th, the South Atlantic Fisheries Commission meet in London.

June 10th, Argentina sends a letter to the UN recalling; “… 165 years (of) the establishment of the Political and Military Command of the Malvinas Islands and the Atlantic Ocean islands off Cape Horn, the Argentine Republic’s exercise of effective sovereignty over the southern territories and maritime areas. That exercise of sovereignty, which was contemporary with the birth of Argentina as an independent country, was interrupted by force in 1833… “

In July, Argentina and the UK agree to request collaboration by the USA in removing mines laid by Argentina.

July 11th, the Special Committee commences its annual consideration of Falklands decolonization. Petitioners include Councillors Luxton and Teggart representing the FIG.

July 12th, Councillor Bill Luxton raises an offer to buy the archipelago; “ .. I would like to mention briefly the recent insulting and distasteful bribe by the Argentine Foreign Minister when he offered a huge sum of money to Falkland Islanders if they would agree to the transfer of sovereignty to the Argentines. I wonder how the Argentine poor living in the slums of Buenos Aires will react when they hear that their Government plans to give away half a million pounds each to a community whom they regard as second- class citizens. Even if they were able to secure the consent of their people to this distasteful plan, where do they propose to find a sum of money approaching £1 billion? … I would tell the Foreign Minister that it will not work – I believe every Falkland Islander will treat his plan with the contempt it so richly deserves.”

Luxton goes on to ask that the draft-Resolution about to be put before the Committee includes “as an essential principle,” the right to self-determination for the people of the Falkland Islands.

After the petitions, Venezuela introduces a draft-Resolution calling for negotiations on sovereignty.

Argentina’s Foreign Minister, Guido Di Tella, tells the Committee; “.. The right to self-determination does not apply to the inhabitants of the islands, as the General Assembly reaffirmed in its voting on 27 November 1985. To assert otherwise would be to recognize the validity of an originally illegitimate act, because the mere passage of time cannot generate rights for an occupying Power or its subjects installed in a foreign territory who have displaced the local inhabitants by force. Since 1833, Argentines have been prevented from moving freely to the islands or becoming landowners there, which has strengthened the islanders’ isolationist attitude towards the mainland.”

Towards the end of his speech, he addresses the Islanders; “… The General Assembly and the Decolonization Committee resolutions clearly establish that Argentina and the United Kingdom are the only parties to the dispute. The Islanders do not enjoy a similar status, but their influence has an impact on both the British Government and, in particular, its Parliament, …. Argentina takes this fact into account when it addresses the need for a settlement of the controversy. We do so because we realize that it would be objectively unthinkable to approach this issue without taking into consideration its human dimension. Therefore, while not conceding any veto power to the Islanders, we intend to gain a better understanding of their lifestyle and their viewpoints in order to reach agreements for the benefit of all concerned. … The establishment of direct links with the Islanders is central to our policy on this matter. …”

Papua New Guinea’s member of the Special Committee, tells the meeting; “ .. My delegation will continue to support and encourage our Argentine brothers and our British friends to continue to seek a solution through peaceful means. However, the  question we raised previously, when this matter was considered in 1993, relates to the fact that the draft resolution, as it stands, misses a significant element of the issue – namely, the element of self-determination that is being raised by the Island’s population. …  While the resolution as it stands deals with the question of territorial sovereignty, it misses the question of self-determination for the sixth generation of the island’s population, whose views and opinions may not have been considered…”

Venezuela’s draft-Resolution is adopted by the Committee without a vote.

After the vote, the Committee member from Fiji questions whether the Special Committee is the correct forum to consider an issue that involves a sovereignty dispute. The member for Sierra Leone states that “serious consideration” should be given to the interests of the Islanders and that, in the future, some reference to self-determination should be made in the draft-Resolution.

In August, Argentina’s Constitution is amended to include under its Temporary Provisions; ” The Argentine Nation ratifies its legitimate and non-prescribing sovereignty over the Malvinas, Georgias del Sur and Sandwich del Sur Islands and over the corresponding maritime and insular zones, as they are an integral part of the National territory. The recovery of said territories and the full exercise of sovereignty, respectful of the way of life of their inhabitants and according to the principles of international law, are a permanent and unrelinquished goal of the Argentine people.”

If we stick to the Constitution, there is no way Argentina and the UK can negotiate a middle-ground position. The constitution imposes to seek the full sovereignty,..  this can’t be done whilst respecting their lives: it is a contradiction in terms since the kelpers have a clear political will and do not want to be Argentine.” (Vicente Palermo quoted in ‘Las Malvinas son Argentinas’; Who Taught You that? published in Argentina Independent April 4th 2012)

August 22nd, with the UN’s Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) coming into force in November, the FIG, in order to protect the Illex grounds, extends its EEZ into an area known as the “Gap.” Argentina protests; “… In the maritime space in which the United Kingdom seeks to extend its alleged jurisdiction, the Argentine Republic has exercised, exercises and will continue to exercise sovereign rights, particularly in respect of the administration and control of fisheries. The British action implies a departure from the Joint Statement and the bilateral understandings reached from 1990 until now regarding the South-West Atlantic…. the Argentine Government will continue to administer and exploit the living marine resources in that zone, and to monitor and control the activities carried out therein, for the better conservation of the resources.”

August 26th, the UK rejects the protest; “.. The UK does not recognize Argentine jurisdiction over the area, which lies within 200 miles of the Falkland Islands and more than 200 miles from Argentine baselines…”

August 30th, Britain also rejects Argentina’s amended Constitution; “ … the Embassy are instructed to reject the Argentine claim in the revised Constitution to sovereignty over these territories and wish to protest formally at the renewed assertion of this claim.”

In October, a MORI poll; “.. commissioned by a group of Argentine businessmen asked Falkland Islanders about their views on the sovereignty of the Islands. … The majority (57%) of islanders supported the then Conservative Government’s policy of talking to Argentina about everything except sovereignty and only 4% thought that there should be negotiations about sovereignty. 78% said that they would have no confidence in any promises given by Argentina should sovereignty be compromised. 47% said that they would not agree to Argentine sovereignty in any circumstances.”

November 3rd, the General Assembly defer the question of the Falkland Islands for another year.

November 16th, he UN’s Convention on the Law of the Sea comes into force. This introduces a number of provisions, of which the most significant are archipelagic status, exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of up to 200 miles, continental shelf jurisdiction, deep seabed mining, the exploitation regime, protection of the marine environment, scientific research, and settlement of disputes. The Convention also sets the limit of various areas, measured from a carefully defined baseline. Under the Convention, vessels are given the right of ‘innocent passage’ through any territorial waters. This is defined by the Convention as passing through waters in an expeditious and continuous manner, which is not “prejudicial to the peace, good order or the security” of the coastal state.

In December, in a ‘Falkland Islands Newsletter,’ Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd concludes that the sovereignty dispute has “in effect,” been settled.

1995 – January 3rd, Argentina issues its annual press release; Today being the one hundred sixty-second anniversary of the illegitimate British occupation of the Malvinas Islands…”

Port Stanley hosts a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association seminar.

February 8th, Argentina’s Ambassador to the UK, Rogelio Pfirter calls for Margaret Thatcher to be extradited to Argentina for having ordered the sinking of the cruiser Belgrano.

February 9th, President Menem says that the recovery of Argentine sovereignty remains his top priority and that; “ .. that the Islands would be Argentinean in the year 2000, …”

March 22nd, in Parliament, Douglas Hurd tells the House of Commons that; “ .. once the Argentines accepted that the islanders were British and had their own right to self-determination, relations [with Argentina] could be built on a normal basis;..”

In May, Argentina again proposes that it “buys” sovereignty of the Falkland Islands – its earlier offer increased to a maximum of $1m for every one of the 2,200 inhabitants.

Governor David Tatham, tells reporters, “ I think the Islanders’ find it offensive that another country would attempt to buy their citizenship. Di Tella is just casting around for a fresh ploy to divide the Islanders, but there’s no chance of this working.”

June 5th, the South Atlantic Fisheries Commission meet in London.

On June 30th, the ICJ, in a case concerning East Timor, states that; ” The principle of self-determination of peoples has been recognized by the Charter and in the jurisprudence of the Court; it is one of the essential principles of contemporary international law.”

July 10th, the Special Committee commences its annual consideration of Falkland Islands decolonization with petitioners including Ricardo Patterson and Alexander Betts, together with FIG Councillors Goss and Edwards.

July 13th, Argentina’s Foreign Minister tells the Committee; “ .. The right to self-determination does not apply to the inhabitants of the islands, as the General Assembly reaffirmed in its voting on 27 November 1985…”

Venezuela introduce a draft-Resolution calling for sovereignty negotiations which is adopted without a vote.

September 27th, a Declaration between the UK and Argentina announces a joint approach to the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons (oil and gas). This establishes a program of coordinated activities and provides for the creation of six special cooperation areas.

On the same day, Argentina’s President tells the General Assembly; “ .. the dispute concerning sovereignty … has not yet been resolved. We will not cite yet again the numerous resolutions in which the General Assembly and the Decolonization Committee have categorically and repeatedly stated their position on this matter. Let me simply recall that all of these include a clear and direct appeal to the two countries involved – Argentina and the United Kingdom – to reach a negotiated settlement… This appeal .. remains unheeded….”

Exercising the UK’s right of reply, the British representative says; “ .. we have no doubt about Britain’s sovereignty over the Falkland Islands and other British dependencies in the South Atlantic, sovereignty which rests upon the firm historical foundations and upon the inalienable right of the Falkland Islanders to self-determination, which they have exercised on repeated occasions in democratic elections. …”

In October, the Falkland Islands Government announces the availability of, ‘ .. petroleum production licences.’

October 5th, Argentina protests the announcement from the FIG.

October 31st, the General Assembly defer the question of the Falkland Islands for another year.

November 21st, the South Atlantic Fisheries Commission meet in Buenos Aires.

December 1st, Argentina ratifies UNCLOS; rejecting British sovereignty of the Falklands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which it claims for itself.

1996 – in January, an air link is established with Santiago which connects to the British Airways Flight to London; subsidised by the Falkland Islands Development Corporation. A licensing regime for the fishing grounds around South Georgia is enforced by the British Government. Argentina complains.

January 3rd, the Government of Argentina issue a press release; “As we remember today the 163 years since the time when the Argentine people and authorities were forced out of the Malvinas, …”

HRH Princess Anne, Princess Royal, visits the Islands.

January 8th, Richard Peter Ralph is sworn in as Governor; reaffirming, in a speech, the commitment of the UK to uphold the right of the Islanders’ to choose which flag they would be governed under.

January 16th, the British Embassy in Buenos Aires, in an aide-mémoire, outlines the UK position in relation to the fisheries around South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; “ .. that article IV of the Convention, and the so-called Chairman’s statement of 1980, recognize that parties to the Convention with islands within its area of application may exercise coastal state jurisdiction in respect of those islands…”

February 27th, Argentina complains in its own aide-mémoire that the;  “.. only rules applicable to the utilization of Antarctic marine living resources in the area adjacent to South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are those laid down in the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and such rules adopted by the Commission established under the Convention as are currently in force.”

March 1st, a first meeting of the South-West Atlantic Hydrocarbons Commission takes place at Buenos Aires.

March 4th, in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s Foreign Minister ups the ante in a Note Verbale to the British Embassy with regard to fishing licences at South Georgia; “ .. The Argentine Republic lodges a formal protest against this action by Great Britain and condemns it as contrary to the Convention and general international law. It should be noted that action of this kind can give rise to international liability. … ”

March 14th, Argentina addresses a similar complaint to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR); “The unlawful detention of a fishing vessel of Chilean registry, the Antonio Lorenzo, … while it was engaged in fishing operations under the Convention … , and its subsequent escort to the Malvinas Islands, have had consequences that are prejudicial to the Convention and to the international system of scientific observation established thereunder. The Argentine Republic is informed that the CCAMLR international scientific observer designated by it for the purpose of performing tasks aboard the above-mentioned Chilean vessel has been taken to the Malvinas Islands, where he is deprived of his freedom of movement inasmuch as he is not allowed to leave the vessel, and his ability to communicate is severely restricted. The Argentine Republic wishes to point out that actions of this kind contravene the letter and the spirit of the Convention,…”

March 27th, the British Embassy respond with its own Note Verbale to Buenos Aires; “ .. The British Government … rejects any suggestion that the actions taken by the Government of the territory are in breach of any international obligations. …”

The regular population census reveals that there are 2,564 people on the Islands, excluding military personnel and their families but including 483 otherwise present in connection with the military garrison.

April 13th, the Foreign Ministers of the UK and Argentina meet in Iguazu, Argentina. After the meeting a statement says; “Both parties agreed to hold consultations on South Georgia fisheries … concerning the interpretation and application of the Convention. Both parties expressed their political will to resume conversations on a fisheries agreement for the longer term, putting emphasis on conservation. ..”

April 17th, Argentina’s Foreign Minister, Guido de Tella, meets with the Secretary-General and complains about the UK’s enforcement of fishing licences against Argentine trawlers off the coast of South Georgia.

May 8th, the UK writes to the CCAMLR; “ .. The arrest of the vessel (Antonio Lorenzo) did not infringe in any way the rights of the CCAMLR scientific observer who was on board at the time. The presence of such an observer affords no immunity to the vessel in respect of infringements of the Convention conservation measures or national legislation enforcing them. In view of the immigration regulations, the observer in question was asked whether he wished to leave the Falkland Islands by air or remain on board the vessel until it sailed. The United Kingdom kept the Argentine Government in touch with developments. The observer chose to remain on the vessel. During that time he was free to communicate by any means available to him.”

7 Production Licences, covering 12,000 square kilometers, are awarded to 14 oil companies as a result of a competitive bidding round.

July 22nd, the Special Committee considers the Falklands during its annual meeting. Petitioners include Councillors Goss and Stevens from the FIG; Luis Gustavo Vernet, Ricardo Ancell Patterson and Pablo Betts.

Argentina’s Foreign Minister tells the meeting; “ .. It has been precisely defined that, regarding the Malvinas Islands issue, there is, in the first place, a sovereignty controversy over the Territory. In the second place, that in this controversy, from the legal point of view, there are only two parties: Argentina and the United Kingdom… which discards the possibility of applying the right to self-determination, in this case…. ”

Chile introduces a draft-Resolution calling for sovereignty negotiations which is adopted without a vote.

September 22nd, Minsiter Guido di Tella tells the General Assembly that; “ .. It is incomprehensible that while Argentina and the United Kingdom have overcome the sorrow and have left behind their mutual disagreements and distrust and built up a harmonious and constructive relationship … they have not so far been able to comply with the resolutions of the General Assembly and of the Decolonization Committee and to progress in the dialogue towards a definitive solution to this dispute. We have not even been able to sit down together around a table to talk, even if only to express our disagreement…”

September 23rd, the UK responds; “ .. In the Falkland Islands we must heed the wishes of the people. Many families trace their ancestory in the Falklands back for five or six generations… they have stated their belief in their right to self-determination to live under a government of their choice and, … they have reiterated their view that they do not want to be part of Argentina.”

October 25th, the General Assembly defer the question of the Falkland Islands for another year without taking action on the proposed Resolution forwarded by the Special Committee.

November 20th, the 11th meeting of the South Atlantic Fisheries Commission commences in Buenos Aires.

December 10th, the South-West Atlantic Hydrocarbons Commission meet in London.

In his Christmas Message, the British Prime Minister tells the Islanders that; Our developing relationship with Argentina will not be at the expense of Britain’s unchanging commitment to the Falkland Islands…”

1997 – January 2nd, the Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Portillo, visits the Falklands. He states that the UK Government is committed to defending the islands and maintaining their security; that there is no caveat, exception or time limit to that commitment and that the UK is not prepared to discuss sovereignty, let alone share it.

January 3rd, Argentina issues its annual claim in commemoration of the events of 1833; On the 164th anniversary of this illegal and illegitimate occupation,..”

January 10th, rumours of secret talks taking place at the official residence of the Foreign Secretary in Kent, circulate in Stanley. The British delegation is said to include the Governor and two FIG Councillors.

It emerged that Councillors had been advised through Governor Ralph that Argentina would propose a solution which would involve dropping their claim to the Islands. The majority of Councillors, deciding that they could not let this opportunity slip, had chosen Coucillors Halford and Mike Summers to represent them. As soon as it became obvious at Chevening that the Argentines were not dropping their claim, the two Councillors withdrew with the approval of the Foreign Secretary.”

April 8th, Margaret Thatcher makes a speech aboard HMS Canberra, on the 15th anniversary of its departure for the Falklands War; “ Effective action can only be taken by strong nations able to call upon the total loyalty and support of its citizens. We are such a nation. The public insisted that we remedy this wrong and that we restore our high reputation and by the end of this wonderful campaign Britain’s standing in the world had been transformed and we had recovered faith in ourselves as well as free the territories and peoples of the Falkland Islands. Some of the world was astonished. It also had an effect on East-West relations. I remember a Russian General coming to see me and saying, “… we Soviets never thought you would go to fight. And if you did go we thought you would lose.” Diplomacy was clearly not his strong suit. It wasn’t mine either. I said rather tartly “Britain doesn’t lose….”

May 1st, following a General Election, a Labour Government takes over in the UK, led by Tony Blair. Shortly after the election members of the South Atlantic Council approach the new Government to suggest that negotiations with Argentina are re-opened.

In June, Foreign Minister Guido di Tella is reported as saying; “We are fully aware that no British government will ever take a substantive decision on this issue without the approval of the islanders. The islanders have acquired a de facto veto. It’s them we have to convince.”

Di Tella did not accept the Islanders’ right to self-determination, but he was conscious of the fact that if Argentina did not succeed in making itself an attractive country, it would be impossible to get the British Government and Parliament to accept a transfer of sovereignty.” [Escude 2003]

June 10th, on Argentina’s Day of Affirmation of Argentine Rights to the Malvinas Islands and the Antarctic Sector, the Government in Buenos Aires issue a press release; “Since the beginning of its existence as an independent nation, the Argentine Republic has demonstrated, through actions by the Government, the firm political determination to exercise its effective sovereignty in the southern territories and maritime areas inherited from Spain. This effective exercise of sovereignty was interrupted when, in 1833, British forces occupied the Islands, expelling the population and the Argentine authorities established there. Subsequently, Argentine citizens were prevented from settling freely or owning land in those territories. The Argentine people and Government never accepted that act of force ..”

June 16th,  the Special Committee considers the decolonization of the Falkland Islands. Petitioners include Councillors William Luxton and Sharon Halford on behalf of the FIG; Alejandro Betts and Juan Scott, as well as Argentina’s Foreign Minister.

During the meeting, Chile proposes a draft-Resolution calling for renewed sovereignty negotiations.

Argentina’s Foreign  Minister adresses the Committee; In view of its particular nature, in contrast to what occurs with other non-autonomous territories, the Malvinas question must be resolved through negotiations between the Argentine Republic and the United Kingdom, in conformity with the repeated decisions by the United Nations (General Assembly resolution 2065 (XX) and subsequent ones); to act otherwise, in addition to rewarding an act of usurpation, would be to undermine the territorial integrity of the Argentine Republic.

The principle of self-determination applies only to peoples subject to a colonial power. In the case of the Malvinas Islands, the people colonized cannot be distinguished from the colonizer since they are the descendants of the colonists whom the occupying Power, after carrying out an act of usurpation in 1833, settled in the territory, expelling by force the preexisting Argentine population, which was thereafter prevented from residing freely in the territory or acquiring land…”

Fiji’s representative, tells the Committee; “.. that the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples called for an end to colonialism when the peoples of colonized territories exercised their right to self-determination. The process of self-determination should not be imposed on the people, but it was for them to exercise that right when the time was ripe. The draft resolution focused on the issue of sovereignty which was not in the Committee’s mandate..”

Chile’s draft-Resolution is adopted by the Special Committee without a vote.

Sierra Leone makes its own statement in support of the Islanders; “.. in which he said that while efforts by Argentina and the United Kingdom to solve the issue by peaceful means were praiseworthy, significance should be given to the wishes and interests of the people of the islands. The resolution should have made reference to the important question of self-determination for the islanders. There was no alternative to that ..”

July 16th, the South-West Atlantic Hydrocarbons Commission, made up of representatives from Argentina, the UK and the Islands, holds its 3rd meeting in Buenos Aires.

September 24th, speaking to the General Assembly, Minister di Tella repeats his country’s call for negotiations.

November 10th, the General Assembly defer, yet again, the question of the Falkland Islands for another year – without action on the Resolution proposed by the Special Committee.

November 24th, the South Atlantic Fisheries Commission meet in Buenos Aires.

December 5th, the South-West Atlantic Hydrocarbons Commission, holds its 4th meeting in London.

For Christmas, Argentina’s President, Carlos Menem, sends gifts of books and videos to the Islanders.

1998 in his New Year message to the Falklands, Prime Minister Tony Blair assures the Islanders of his; “.. Commitment to protect the Territory’s right to self-determination and to ensure its security.”

January 2nd, in its annual press statement, the Argentina Government repeats its claim that British forces expelled the Argentine inhabitants of the Falklands in 1833.

In April, Foreign Office Minister Tony Lloyd visits the archipelago for 4 days of talks. When asked about relations with Argentina during a phone-in at the local broadcasting station, the Minister says; “ .. This relationship does not cause any challenge to the people of the Falkland Islands …”

April 27th, an exploratory oil well is drilled in the North Falklands Basin by the Borgny Dolphin. Plans for five further exploratory wells are announced by the International Oil Corporation.

April 30th, Argentina rejects the UK’s “right” to authorise oil drilling in the continental shelf.

June 10th, Argentina’s Government issue a press release commemorating the, “effective exercise of sovereignty” with the; “… establishment of the Political and Military Command of the Malvinas Islands and the Islands adjacent to Cape Horn in the Atlantic Ocean, in accordance with the decree by Interim Governor Martin Rodriguez in 1829 …”

July 6th, the Special Committee consider the question of the Falkland Islands. Petitioners include Councillors Norma Edwards and Sharon Halford of the Falklands Legislative Council; Maria Angelica Vernet, Enrique Pinedo and Alejandro Betts.

Chile introduces a draft-Resolution calling for negotiations on sovereignty.

In his address to the Committee, Argentina’s Foreign Minister claims that the human right of self-determination is not applicable to the peoples of the Falklands, as it only applies; “..  to peoples subjected to a colonial Power. In the case of the Malvinas Islands, it is obvious that the inhabitants are descended from the settlers who were transplanted illegally to those Territories by the occupying Power in the nineteenth century…”

Fiji’s member of the Committee questions its ability to pronounce upon the issue ; “.. his delegation believed that the issue of sovereignty over the Falkland Islands was beyond the responsibility of the Special Committee and was, therefore, ultra vires of its mandate. The issue for the Special Committee was one of decolonization, not one of sovereignty. The future of the peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories must be decided by the people themselves.”

Cuba’s representative reaffirms; “.. his Government’s support for the Government of Argentina over the Territory. As far as Cuba was concerned, Argentina’s sovereignty over the Territory was beyond dispute.”

The Special Committee adopt Chile’s proposed draft-Resolution without a vote. In response, Sierra Leone’s representative complains that the; “ .. resolution should make appropriate reference to the important issue of self-determination. As the Special Committee was aware, there was no alternative to that principle.”

July 30th, the South-West Atlantic Hydrocarbons Commission holds its 5th meeting in Buenos Aires.

In August, Foreign Office Minister Tony Lloyd tells the House of Commons; “Our position remains that we have no doubt about our sovereignty over the islands, and we remain fully committed to protecting the right of the Falkland Islanders to determine their future. There is no inconsistency between that and our real commitment to continue working with the Argentines on all other aspects of our relationship.”

August 20th, the Supreme Court of Canada gives its opinion on the legality of succession by Quebec. On the issue of ‘peoples,’ the court says; “It is clear that a ‘people’ may include only a portion of the population of an existing state. The right to self-determination has developed largely as a human right..”

October 5th, the UN’sSpecial Political and Decolonization (Fourth) Committee consider submissions from the Special Committee and other petitioners.

October 9th, the Penguin News reports a cessation of drilling while the company evaluates the results.

October 10th, Chile’s ex-dictator, General Pinochet, in London for medical treatment, is arrested under a warrant issued in Spain which alleges human rights violations.

October 27th, President Carlos Menem, visits London. On his arrival in London, Menem says; “.. I think that to a certain extent the wounds have healed, but it is important to deal with this subject which was a cause of confrontation between us for so many years.” Island Councillor Jan Cheek, in London for a meeting with Foreign Secretary Cook regarding fishing rights, tells the Guardian newspaper; “He couldn’t go back to Argentina if he didn’t raise the issue. Our concern is that he’s turning what should be a visit to improve bilateral relations and trade into an opportunity for flag-waving over the Falklands.”

October 28th, speaking to an audience at Lancaster House, Menem says; “As President of the Argentines, I repeat that we are fully convinced of the legitimacy of our historical rights.” He makes no apology for the invasion of the Islands in 1982, but suggests a ‘joint sovereignty’ arrangement may still work.

October 29th, a Joint Statement is issued; “Each Government expressly reaffirms its known position with regard to sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and the surrounding maritime areas. Both Governments also reaffirm their support for the United Nations and the commitment of their respective countries to resolve their differences exclusively through peaceful means…”

November 2nd, the General Assembly again defer consideration of the Falkland Islands for another year.

November 12th, the South Atlantic Fisheries Commission holds its 14th meeting in Buenos Aires.

1999 – January 1st, in his New Year’s Message British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, says; “… when I spoke to President Menem here in London during his visit. I told him unequivocally that the sovereignty of the islands was not for negotiation, nor was the right of you, the Falkland Islanders to determine your own future …”

January 2nd, in a press release, Argentina expresses; “.. its unwavering determination to regain, through diplomatic negotiations, the exercise of sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands,..”

Donald Alexander Lamont becomes Governor.

January 16th, Grytviken church is re-inaugurated by the Bishop of Tunsberg, Magne Storli.

March 9th, Prince Charles visits Argentina en-route to Port Stanley. In Argentina he makes a speech in which he expresses the hope that Argentina would be able to live alongside; “… the people of another, rather smaller, democracy.”

March 13th, Prince Charles arrives at the Falkland Islands.

March 17th, in London, a Government White Paper, ‘Partnership for Progress and Prosperity: Britain and the Overseas Territories’ proposes a new relationship between Britain and its Overseas Territories, based on 4 basic principles – 1. self-determination, with Britain willingly granting independence where it is requested and is an option; 2. responsibilities on both sides, with Britain pledged to defend the Overseas Territories, to encourage their sustainable development and to look after their interests internationally, and in return expecting the highest standards of probity, law and order, good government and observance of Britain’s international commitments; 3. the Overseas Territories exercising the greatest possible autonomy; and 4. Britain providing continued financial help to the Overseas Territories that need it.

April 10th, Lan Chile suspends the air link with East Falkland in protest at the arrest in of General Pinochet.

May 25th, in Madrid, talks recommence with regard to further co-operation over fish stocks, conservation and mineral resources under the 1989 ‘sovereignty-umbrella.’ The UK’s delegation includes four members of the Falkland Islands Legislative Council. Views on air links and contact are exchanged but no decisions are reached.

June 10th, Argentina issues its annual press release; … Since the beginning of its existence as an independent nation, the Argentine Republic has demonstrated, through actions by the Government, the firm political determination to exercise its effective sovereignty in the southern territories and maritime areas inherited from Spain….”

June 16th, the South Atlantic Fisheries Commission holds its 15th meeting in London. Revenue from fishing licenses issued by the FIG is estimated at £20 million.

July 1st, the Special Committee consider the question of the Falkland Islands. Speakers include Sharon Halford and Jan Cheek of the Legislative Council; Alejandro Betts, Carlos Moyano Llerena and Ricardo Ancell Patterson.

Chile introduces a draft-Resolution calling for sovereignty negotiations.

Argentina’s Foreign Minister tells the meeting; “…When we speak of the Malvinas Islands, we do not hesitate to recognize the existence of an identifiable and well-defined community. There is no doubt that many of the islanders are the descendants and the result of a forcible territorial occupation which took place at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Virtually cut off from what was taking place only a few kilometres away, they lived and evolved alongside continental Argentina. It is clear from the events which occurred in 1833 that there was an earlier community, which had been largely displaced from the islands. The island community, whose existence and culture we are committed to respecting in our own Constitution, has a clear, dominant British identity, a characteristic which we recognize, but which is largely a result of the administrative shackles imposed for decades by the occupying Power, which have distorted the normal development of the South Atlantic..”

As previously, the Special Committee adopt’s Chile’s draft-Resolution without a vote.

Speaking after the Committee’s decision; “The representative of Antigua and Barbuda said the issue of the Falkland Islands was not an issue of decolonization, but rather it was an issue that should be placed before the Security Council or the General Assembly. The representative of Venezuela said that his country believed that negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom were the only way to resolve the dispute. The representative of Indonesia expressed confidence that the dispute would eventually be amicably settled to the satisfaction of all parties concerned. The representative of Fiji said his delegation believed that it was necessary to focus on the persons inhabiting the Territories, and that the Committee needed to consult with the International Court of Justice for a legal opinion on the dispute. The representative of Grenada said that the dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom had become less confrontational. He suggested that the inhabitants of the Falkland Islands should be involved in the process of discussions. ..”

July 2nd, further talks takes place in New York. Members of the Falklands Legislative Council are again present.

July 11th, Islanders in Stanley, uninformed of what is happening, stage a protest outside Government House.

July 13th, Argentine and British delegations meet in London.

July 14th – Britain and Argentina announces agreements; “ .. regarding travel by Argentine citizens to the Falkland Islands on their own passports; the resumption of civil air services between Chile and the Falkland Islands, including stops in mainland Argentina; and the possibility of flights between the Falkland Islands and third countries, with the option.. of making stops in mainland Argentina. (Also) cooperation in the maintenance and conservation of fish stocks in the South Atlantic and on confidence-building measures, including landmine clearance in the Falkland Islands.”

Foreign Secretary Robin Cook states; “There is nothing whatsoever in this agreement that compromises the position either of Britain or of Argentina in relation to sovereignty. …”

Island Councilors involved in the talks issue a statement; “We recognise as much as anyone else that even limited access by Argentine passport holders is a very difficult pill to swallow … we believe granting access to Argentine nationals is a necessary step to take in order to retain the support of the British public and Parliament.”

Before the ink was even dry, President Carlos Saul Menem called his recent agreement with Britain to allow Argentine tourists to visit the Falkland Islands for the first time since the 1982 Falkland war ”the crown jewel” of his 10 years in office. Overjoyed by his self-proclaimed diplomatic victory, Mr. Menem said his daughter, Zulema, would be on the first commercial flight between Argentina and the Falklands in October. He said he would soon follow, hinting that he might even make it to the South Atlantic archipelago before his term ends in December as a victorious swan song. Not to be outdone, Foreign Minister Guido Di Tella said he wanted to go….. But two weeks after the initial hoopla, the agreement has not turned out to be everything Mr. Menem had hoped. His hand-picked Vice President, Carlos Ruckauf, has sharply criticized the pact for obliging visiting Argentines to carry passports — an explicit recognition that the archipelago is foreign soil and not Argentine, as stated in the Constitution. … There have been several small but nasty demonstrations against the agreement, including one in which a few hundred islanders burned an Argentine flag and threw stones at the house of a local official who supported the negotiations that produced the agreement. Citing the disturbances, the British Governor on the islands gave an interview to Clarin that warned high-placed Argentines to stay away.”The atmosphere in the islands is such that it would be asking for problems and hostility toward the visitors,” the Governor, Donald Lamont, said. ”I don’t want to sound negative, but there are people with very strong opinions.” Councilor Mike Summers, who was one of two Falkland representatives who helped negotiate the agreement, told an Argentine radio station that Mr. Di Tella and Miss Menem ought to postpone their visits, because ”there are still angry feelings in the Falklands toward the Argentines.” .. A poll published last week in The Penguin News, a weekly paper distributed in Port Stanley, reported that 56 percent of the islanders opposed the commercial air link that will bring Argentines to the Falklands. Forty-seven percent said they approved of the arrival of Argentines, as long as the number of tourists could be controlled ..” (New York Times)

Responsibility for the upkeep of the Argentine Cemetery at Darwin is passed to the families of those buried there.

July 22nd, the South-West Atlantic Hydrocarbons Commission holds its 7th meeting in Buenos Aires.

September 2nd, an ad hoc meeting of the South Atlantic Fisheries Commission is held in Madrid.

September 21st, President Menem tells the General Assembly that he is convinced the conditions exist for Argentina and Britain to begin a dialogue towards a definitive solution of the sovereignty dispute.

September 22nd, in response, the UK points out that; “.. Representatives of the Territory had asked the Special Committee on decolonization to recognize that they, like other democratic people, were entitled to exercise the right of self-determination and reiterated that the people of the Falkland Islands did not want to be part of  Argentina.”

October 5th, the UN’s Fourth Committee considers the reports of the Special Committee.

October 13th, before the Committee, Argentina rejects; “ .. the United Kingdom’s claim that the “wishes” of the inhabitants of the Malvinas should be respected. …”

November 4th, the General Assembly defers the question of the Falkland Islands for another year.

November 25th, the South Atlantic Fisheries Commission holds its 16th meeting in Buenos Aires.

In December, Foreign Office Minister Battle tells the House of Commons; “A number of the measures set out in the British-Argentine Joint Statement of 14 July have already been implemented. The Falkland Islands Government have admitted Argentine passport-holders to the Falklands since July. All deadlines have been met to restore air links between the Falklands and South America and to introduce measures to combat the common menace of poaching of fish stocks. We continue to consolidate progress on the remaining issues. We are working with Argentina on a Memorandum of Understanding on the terms of a study to determine the cost and feasibility of removing the remaining land mines from the Falklands. Both sides continue to work towards a multilateral arrangement to regulate fishing in the high seas of the South-West Atlantic. An Argentine architect has recently visited the Falklands to discuss proposals for construction of a memorial at the Argentine cemetery there. The Argentine Government are committed to review their use of Falklands place names. None of these developments affect our commitment to defend the Islanders. right to determine their own future. The sovereignty of the Falkland Islands is not for negotiation..”

December 10th, Argentina’s new President, Fernando de la Rua, is sworn into office.

On the same day, the South-West Atlantic Hydrocarbons Commission holds its 6th meeting in London.

December 21st, Argentina’s new Foreign Minister, Adalberto Rodriguez Giavarini, describes the Falklands agreements signed by the Menem administration as being; “..of a provisional nature.”

December 24th, in his Christmas Message to the Falkland islands, Tony Blair says; “.. This has been an eventful year for the Falkland Islands. Earlier this year, yourBlair Legislative Council asked us to begin a new dialogue with Argentina to discuss some issues of importance to you. Councillors have played a significant part in this process and approved the joint statement that was signed on 14 July here in London by Robin Cook and Guido Di Tella. I want to pay tribute to their vision and determination. I believe they are pursuing a policy that is in the best interest of the Falkland Islands. Air links with South America have been re-established. Cooperation has been strengthened with Argentina to conserve fish stocks in the South West Atlantic. These are important achievements. They show that we can manage our differences with Argentina and still make progress on practical issues. As part of that July agreement, Councillors also lifted a ban which had been in place for almost two decades on Argentine passport holders visiting the Islands. I know that this was not an easy decision, but I am convinced that it was the right thing to do. The Argentine people now have the opportunity to see the Islands for what they are, to meet you, see how you live and to understand the essential Britishness of the Falkland Islands.”

Written by Junius

September 21, 2011 at 3:39 am

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