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October 12, 2012

Argentinian diplomat on island dispute

Argentinean Ambassador Jorge Argüello discussed his country’s territorial dispute with Britain over an archipelago off the Argentine coast over lunch with students and faculty in International House on Tuesday.

Opening with an account of Argentina’s recent economic history, Arguello went on to outline several topics central to both Argentine domestic and foreign policy. His talk focused, however, on the territorial dispute between Britain and Argentina surrounding Las Malvinas (the Falkland Islands), a sparsely populated archipelago off the Argentine coast that has been under British rule since 1833.

After roughly outlining the conflict as a “top diplomatic priority,” Argüello highlighted several important actions that Argentina has taken in its dealings with the Falklands.

“We need political will on both sides to move forward. We are doing our best. We are displaying a diplomatic strategy in every capital in the world where we have representation. We are having informal conversations with both capitals.” Argüello later said, “We are not asking you to return the Islands, just for a return to dialogue, because that is the only mechanism we see to find a final solution.”

Although advocating a peaceful solution, his opinion regarding the conflict remained clear. “The Malvinas Islands are located in the South Atlantic. They are only 348 miles away from Argentina and they are 8,700 miles away from London. 8,700 miles,” he quipped.

With the 180th anniversary of British control over the Falklands in close sight, the territorial dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom remains tense. Despite stressing the importance of the Falklands’ right to self-determination (mentioned in a clause in the revised 1994 Argentine Constitution), Argüello asserted that in this embittered dispute over the Falkland Islands, his country ultimately deserves full custody.

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