The former heads of government of Spain, Felipe González, José María Aznar, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Mariano Rajoy, together with other personalities, have formed a group in support of dialogue on the Malvinas (Falklands), in which they urge the United Kingdom and Argentina to resume talks to resolve the conflict over the sovereignty of the archipelago.
According to a statement released by the Argentine Embassy in Madrid, the group has been confirmed after meetings held with the former presidents individually by the ambassador, Ricardo Alfonsín, “in line with the support that Spain has historically given to dialogue as a mechanism for resolving the sovereignty conflict over the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas”.
Other high-ranking Spanish authorities in international politics also form part of the Group, such as the former Secretary General of NATO, High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union and Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Javier Solana; the also former Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo; the former Member of Parliament and one of the “fathers of the Spanish Constitution”, Miguel Herrero y Rodríguez de Miñón; and the former Secretary of State for International Cooperation and Ibero-America, Miguel Ángel Cortés.
The members of this Dialogue Support Group,” adds the communiqué, “have expressed their strong commitment to international law and the peaceful resolution of differences between States. In this sense, they reiterate what they have successively expressed in the declarations of the Ibero-American Summits, among other forums”.
These declarations reaffirm “the need for the Governments of the Argentine Republic and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to resume, as soon as possible, negotiations aimed at finding a prompt solution to the sovereignty dispute over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas, within the framework of the resolutions of the United Nations, the Organisation of American States and the provisions and objectives of the United Nations Charter, including the principle of territorial integrity”. It also highlights “the successive resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly urging the Secretary-General to make good offices efforts to resume negotiations with a view to finding a peaceful solution to the dispute as soon as possible”.
On his Twitter account, the Argentine president, Alberto Fernández, congratulated the ambassador “for promoting the meeting and solidarity between Spain and Argentina” and expressed his gratitude to the former presidents of the Spanish democracy “who are promoting – he wrote – an agreed solution to our sovereign claims over the Malvinas Islands”.
The Malvinas Islands, Falklands for the British, who have occupied them for 188 years, are considered a non-self-governing territory by the UN of which the UK is the administering power. Argentina does not recognise British sovereignty over these islands, located in the South Atlantic, and claims the territories for its own.
In April 1982, Argentine troops occupied Port Stanley (Puerto Argentino) on the orders of the military junta commanded by General Galtieri, prompting British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to send a large military contingent which, after two and a half months of battles, dislodged the South American forces.