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February 1, 2023

The question of the Malvinas Islands, a 40 years claim in the South Atlantic

It is high time for the United Kingdom to sit at the negotiation table with the Argentine Republic in compliance with the resolutions of the United Nations and to put an end to the anachronic colonial situation in the middle of the 21st century

By Carlos María Vallarino, Chargé  d’Affaires a.i. of the Argentine Republic to Romania


This year, the Republic of Argentina commemorates the fortieth anniversary of the conflict in the South Atlantic and marks the 40th anniversary of resolution 37/9 of the United Nations General Assembly, adopted on November 4, 1982, months after the end of the South Atlantic conflict, which did not alter the nature of the sovereignty dispute, as demonstrated by that resolution. In it, the United Nations, recalling resolutions 2065 (XX) and 3160 (XXVIII), once again requests the governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to resume negotiations in order to find as soon as possible a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute relating to the Question of the Malvinas Islands and requests the Secretary-General, on the basis of that resolution, to undertake a renewed mission of good offices in order to assist the parties.

On this occasion, we have to remind that the Question of the Malvinas Islands stays a priority issue of Argentine foreign policy, which reflects a constitutional mandate and is translated into a State policy. As traditionally, our country focuses on making its sovereign rights visible over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding spaces.

In this sense, we recall that since Argentina became independent from the Kingdom of Spain, it fully exercised sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands, proceeding to the issuance of regulations and the establishment of legal and administrative structures that consolidated the full exercise of its sovereignty, including the promotion of commercial activities and population establishment. Two important milestones in the process of consolidating the exercise of Argentine sovereignty over the South Atlantic Islands were the first raising of the Argentine flag in the Malvinas Islands, which occurred on November 6, 1820, and the creation, on June 10, 1829, by decree of the Governor of the Province of Buenos Aires, Martín Rodríguez, of the Political and Military Command of the Malvinas Islands and adjacent to Cape Horn.

But this full exercise of Argentine sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands was interrupted on January 3, 1833 when the United Kingdom, in full colonial expansion, forcibly evicted the representatives of the Argentine government and established another population, coming from the metropolis itself. Since then, and during the following 188 years, the different Argentine governments have been demanding permanently for the restitution of the full exercise of sovereignty over the Islands.

In this claim, the support of the international community in general has been fundamental. Over the years, and as the international community organized itself in different multilateral forums, support from different regional and multilateral groups was added to the Argentine position. This strong support made it possible to achieve, within the United Nations, the adoption of different resolutions directly or indirectly related to the Question of the Malvinas Islands. In this framework, resolution 1514 (XV) of the United Nations General Assembly (Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples) supports the Argentine position regarding the Question of the Malvinas Islands, enshrining the principle of territorial integrity by maintaining that “Any attempt aimed at totally or partially breaking the national unity and territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.” Likewise, it maintains that the populations with rights to self-determination are the peoples subject to foreign subjugation, domination and exploitation and therefore the populations implanted by the colonial power, as is the case of the Malvinas Islands, are not active subjects of such right.  A year later, in 1965, the first specific resolution on the Question of the Malvinas Islands, resolution 2065 (XX), was approved within the United Nations, which constitutes a fundamental milestone for the Argentine claim. Through it, the international community recognizes the territorial sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom and calls on both parties to continue bilateral negotiations without delay as a way to reach a solution to the dispute. In all the opportunities in which the “Question of the Malvinas Islands” was considered by the General Assembly of the United Nations (1965-1988), Romania voted affirmatively.

On 10th of June, 2022, the Government and the People of the Argentine Republic commemorate the 193rd anniversary of the creation of the Political and Military Commandancy for the Malvinas Islands and the islands adjacent to Cape Horn by the Government of the Province of Buenos Aires.

On 10 June 1829, the Political and Military Commandancy for the Malvinas Islands was created through a Decree signed by the then Governor of the Province of Buenos Aires, Martín Rodríguez, which established that: “The Malvinas Islands and those adjacent to Cape Horn in the Atlantic Ocean shall be governed by a Political and Military Commander appointed immediately by the Government of the Republic.” Thus, a government structure was established, headed by Mr. Luis Vernet, who settled in the islands and publicly exercised his authority and jurisdiction.

In its capacity as heir to Spain’s titles by succession of States, in accordance with the principle of uti possidetis iuri, from the beginning of its independence process in 1810 Argentina permanently exercised its rights over the southern archipelagoes located there.

Despite the constant call of the international community, the United Kingdom persists in failing to resume the sovereignty negotiations, hiding behind the principle of self-determination, which is not applicable to the Question of the Malvinas Islands, thus becoming, more and more in evidence, the economic and geopolitical interests that underlie their claim to perpetuate their control in the South Atlantic. The Argentine Government is firmly convinced that the best way to keep its claim in force is to continue raising it as a State policy and as a regional and global issue. Argentines will always continue to claim through peaceful and diplomatic channels, convinced that their Nation will not be complete until they regain the exercise of sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgias, South Sandwich Islands, and the surrounding maritime areas. In this sense, in order to carry out actions to disseminate and reaffirm Argentine sovereign rights regarding the Question of the Malvinas Islands in Romania, as well as to honor and keep alive the collective memory of our heroes of the South Atlantic conflict and honoring our veterans and fallen, a Support Group for the Malvinas was created in 2012 coordinated by Dr. Razvan Pantelimon, which had a vast activity and will soon publish his agenda for the year 2023.


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