We are victims! Argentina fumes at British ‘colonialists’ in Falkland Islands fury

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It comes as British ministers marked the 40th anniversary of the South American nation’s unprovoked invasion and occupation of the islands – which it calls Las Malvinas. Liz Truss had remarked on the “brave sacrifice” of the British armed forces to liberate the islands.

However, Argentina’s proclaimed minister for the islands accused the Foreign Secretary of a “arbitrary and capricious use” of international laws to maintain control of the islands.

Argentina has never officially owned the islands, which were uninhabited before being settled on by British, French and Spanish colonists.

The British reasserted rule of the islands in 1832, following Argentine attempts to install a garrison on the islands.

Argentina has contested a claim to the Falkland Islands ever since, attempting an invasion in April 1982.

In March 2013, the Falkland Islands held a referendum on its status. 99.8 percent of inhabitants polled voted in favour of remaining a British overseas territory.

In a video to mark forty years since the end of the conflict yesterday (Tuesday), Ms Truss said: “Forty years ago, the Union flag flew over Government House in [Port] Stanley once more as British forces liberated the Falkland Islands.

“They stepped up boldly to ensure aggression could not succeed. They fought bravely to defend people’s rights to determine their future – and we will always remember their efforts and their sacrifices.

“Today, the Falklands are thriving as part of the British family. They’re a shining beacon of freedom and democracy, as a self-governing Overseas Territory.”

However, the Foreign Secretary warned the UK could not be “complacent” over the Falklands’ status as a sovereign British territory, especially in light of other growing threats.

She said: “The assumption that peace and stability were inevitable has been shattered by [Vladimir] Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“China is showing their desire to exert control and coerce people in Africa, Asia and beyond. We must stay vigilant about threats to freedom, sovereignty and self-determination wherever they may be.

“That’s why we reject any questions over the Falklands’ right of self-determination. We will stand up to all those who disrespect that right.”

Responding to her message of solidarity on Twitter, Guillermo Carmona, Argentina’s Secretary of Malvinas, Antarctica and South Atlantic, alleged: “The victim of British colonial action is the Argentine people, who have been deprived of freely determining a part of their territory since 1833.”

He added: “The negotiated solution to the sovereignty issue is not avoidable under the pretext of the outcome of a war.”

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Mr Carmona said the UK “must comply” with UN resolutions to negotiate on sovereignty, something which Britain has demurred from.

Addressing Ms Truss directly, the Argentine minister said “the arbitrary and capricious use of the principles of international law that the United Kingdom intends to apply to the Malvinas Question is not admissible”.

He accused Britain of “violating Argentina’s territorial integrity since 1833”, while “the only valid self-determination is that of the Argentine people”.

Mr Carmona called on the UK Government to “put an end to the colonial situation that your country anachronistically maintains in part of Argentine territory. The Malvinas are Argentine.”

On Monday, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told the House of Commons: “We should not forget the sacrifice made by many to liberate those islands from an aggressive Argentinian invasion by a dictator.

“Many of us will not forget that conflict: it shaped our own childhood and upbringing.”

He added: “If Britain stands for anything it is, no matter whether it’s 8,000 miles away in the South Atlantic or whether it is Ukraine, Britain will stand up for its values and, if necessary, fight for them.”

The Ministry of Defence said the UK would “fight for [its values] today just as we did 40 years ago in the Falklands”.

Reacting to this, Mr Carmona said: “We are supported by historical, legal and geographical reasons and we are confident of our undoubted sovereignty over Malvinas.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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