Veterans react to letter from Argentina’s leader

STRONG Falklands veteran Derek Kimber
STRONG Falklands veteran Derek Kimber
Brittany Ferries Le Mont St Michel ship

Ferry passengers in Portsmouth set for top view of HMS Queen Elizabeth

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VETERANS have rebuffed the president of Argentina for reigniting calls for the UK to relinquish control of the Falkland Islands.

Argentinian president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner wrote an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron over the future of the islands.

The letter says Argentina was forcibly stripped of the Malvinas – the Argentinian name for the islands in an act of colonialism.

Derek Kimber is a Gosport councillor and served on board HMS Coventry during the Falklands Conflict.

He said: ‘I think it’s just the usual sabre rattling.

‘They’re in difficulty in Argentina and therefore she’s got to give people something to concentrate on other than their own internal problems.

‘I think we have got to be careful that we don’t get ourselves into another dispute and I don’t think we will because we aren’t in a position to be able to muster the same sort of numbers we were last time.

‘But I don’t think anybody should underestimate what we can do if we need to.’

The president of Argentina made several calls last year for talks on the future of the islands.

Tensions were pushed further when the Royal Navy sent Portsmouth-based HMS Dauntless to the South Atlantic.

The Ministry of Defence said the move was purely routine but it prompted a complaint by Argentina to the United Nations about militarisation in the South Atlantic.

The letter from the Argentinian president has been rebuffed by the Foreign Office in a statement.

A spokeswoman said: ‘There can be no negotiations on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless and until such time as the islanders so wish.’

THE LETTER IN FULL

Mr Prime Minister David Cameron,

One hundred and eighty years ago, in a blatant exercise of 19th-century colonialism, Argentina was forcibly stripped of the Malvinas Islands, which are situated 14,000km (8700 miles) away from London.

The Argentines on the Islands were expelled by the Royal Navy and the United Kingdom subsequently began a population implantation process similar to that applied to other territories under colonial rule.

Since then, Britain, the colonial power, has refused to return the territories to the Argentine Republic, thus preventing it from restoring its territorial integrity.

The Question of the Malvinas Islands is also a cause embraced by Latin America and by a vast majority of peoples and governments around the world that reject colonialism.

In 1960, the United Nations proclaimed the necessity of “bringing to an end colonialism in all its forms and manifestations”. In 1965, the General Assembly adopted, with no votes against (not even by the United Kingdom), a resolution considering the Malvinas Islands a colonial case and inviting the two countries to negotiate a solution to the sovereignty dispute between them.

This was followed by many other resolutions to that effect.

In the name of the Argentine people, I reiterate our invitation for us to abide by the resolutions of the United Nations.

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner

President of the Argentine Republic