10 February 2012

British Empire continues amidst sovereignty, militarisation disputes

Britain's colonialist ambitions seem to remain insatiable as the British government continues to refrain from negotiating over the sovereignty of the lands it has colonized. When the sovereignty of Hong Kong was granted (returned? - OTR) to the People's Republic of China in 1997, the British Empire hoped that it would legitimately hold sovereignty over its remaining colonized territories under the rubric of 'the British Overseas Territories.' 

However, of the 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories listed on the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization waiting to be decolonized, 10 including the Malvinas Islands and Gibraltar remain under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom. 

As Argentina and Spain have called for negotiations, the British government continues to take a hostile stance ruling out the possibilities for any negotiation and taking provocative acts. 

Earlier this week, the British government sent the Duke of Cambridge Prince Williams clad in the uniform of the 'conqueror' to Malvinas Islands on a six-week-long tour to act as a search and rescue pilot. 

Furthermore, Britain's Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced plans for sending its most advanced warship to the islands in order to give Buenos Aires a 'pause' to think about calling for negotiations over the sovereignty of the islands. 

This comes as the UN Special Committee on Decolonization's draft  on the Malvinas Islands (see text of adopted resolution below - OTR) calls for a 'peaceful, negotiated settlement of the sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom.' 

Moreover, as the Spanish government calls for bilateral negotiations over Gibraltar's sovereignty under the Brussels Agreement, the British Secretary of State for Europe, David Lidington categorically announced that Britain would not sit at the table of negotiations. 

In 1713, under the Treaty of Utrecht, Spain gave sovereignty over the town and castle of Gibraltar to Britain. However, the isthmus and the airspace were not part of the treaty. 

Meanwhile, Lidington made no reference to this issue and maintained that Britain “will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their wishes.” 

Furthermore, British Foreign Secretary William Hague's comments in the Somali capital of Mogadishu tells of Britain's plots for its oil-rich ex-colony as he described his visit as a 'major diplomatic push to bring stability, and a sign of Britain's commitment to the people and country of Somalia.' 

Britain's refusal to get engaged in negotiations over the sovereignty of lands it has colonized takes the lid off its colonialist nature no matter if the lands are called 'the British Overseas Territories.' 

 Report of the United Nations Decolonisation Committee

Chapter XI 
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) 

...135. The Special Committee considered the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) at its 6th and 7th meetings, on 21 June 2011. 

136. In its consideration of the item, the Special Committee took into account paragraph 4 (b) of the annex to General Assembly resolution 58/316, as well as other relevant resolutions and decisions. 

137. During its consideration of the item, the Special Committee had before it a working paper prepared by the Secretariat containing information on developments concerning the Territory (A/AC.109/2011/14). 

138. At the 6th meeting, the Chair informed the Special Committee that the delegations of Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay had requested to participate in the Committee’s consideration of the item. The Committee decided to accede to the requests. 

139. At the same meeting, in accordance with a decision taken at the 3rd meeting, statements were made by Roger Edwards and Dick Sawle of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands, Maria Angélica del Carmen Vernet and Alejandro Betts (see A/AC.109/2011/SR.6). 

140. Also at the same meeting, the representative of Chile, also on behalf of Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), introduced a draft resolution on the item (A/AC.109/2011/L.7). 

141. At the same meeting, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina made a statement (see A/AC.109/2011/SR.6). 

142. Also at the same meeting, statements were made by the representatives of Cuba, China, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Russian Federation, Indonesia, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Sierra Leone, Paraguay (on behalf of the Common Market of the South and associated countries), Guyana (on behalf of the Union of South American Nations), Guatemala (on behalf of the Ibero-American countries), Brazil, Uruguay, Peru and El Salvador (see A/AC.109/2011/SR.6). 

143. At the same meeting, the Special Committee adopted draft resolution A/AC.109/2011/L.7, without a vote. 

144. At the 7th meeting, on 21 June, the representative of Grenada made a statement (see A/AC.109/2011/SR.7). 

Resolution Adopted without a vote
21st June 2011

Question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) 
The Special Committee (on Decolonization), 

       Having considered the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), 
    Aware that the maintenance of colonial situations is incompatible with the United Nations ideal of universal peace,

    Recalling General Assembly resolutions 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960, 2065 (XX) of 16 December 1965, 3160 (XXVIII) of 14 December 1973, 31/49 of 1 December 1976, 37/9 of 4 November 1982, 38/12 of 16 November 1983, 39/6 of 1 November 1984, 40/21 of 27 November 1985, 41/40 of 25 
November 1986, 42/19 of 17 November 1987 and 43/25 of 17 November 1988, Special Committee resolutions A/AC.109/756 of 1 September 1983, A/AC.109/793 of 21 August 1984, A/AC.109/842 of 9 August 1985, A/AC.109/885 of 14 August 1986, A/AC.109/930 of 14 August 1987, A/AC.109/972 of 11 August 1988, A/AC.109/1008 of 15 August 1989, A/AC.109/1050 of 14 August 1990,  A/AC.109/1087 of 14 August 1991, A/AC.109/1132 of 29 July 1992, A/AC.109/1169 of 14 July 1993, A/AC.109/2003 of 12 July 1994, A/AC.109/2033 of 13 July 1995, A/AC.109/2062 of 22 July 1996, A/AC.109/2096 of 16 June 1997, A/AC.109/2122 of 6 July 1998, A/AC.109/1999/23 of 1 July 1999, A/AC.109/2000/23 of 11 July 2000, A/AC.109/2001/25 of 29 June 2001, A/AC.109/2002/25 of 19 June 2002, A/AC.109/2003/24 of 16 June 2003, the resolution adopted on 18 June 2004, the resolution adopted on 15 June 2005, the resolution adopted on 15 June 2006, the resolution adopted on 21 June 2007, the resolution adopted on 12 
June 2008, the resolution adopted on 18 June 2009 and the resolution adopted on 24 June 2010, and Security Council resolutions 502 (1982) of 3 April 1982 and 505 (1982) of 26 May 1982, 

    Distressed that, notwithstanding the time that has elapsed since the adoption of General Assembly resolution 2065 (XX), this prolonged dispute has not yet been settled, 

    Aware of the interest of the international community in the resumption by the Governments of the Argentine Republic and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of their negotiations in order to find as soon as 
possible a peaceful, just and lasting solution to the sovereignty dispute relating to the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), 

    Expressing its preoccupation over the fact that the good level of relations between Argentina and the United Kingdom has not yet led to negotiations on the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), 

    Considering that this situation should facilitate the resumption of the negotiations in order to find a peaceful solution to the dispute over sovereignty, 

    Reaffirming the principles of the Charter of the United Nations on the non-use of force or the threat of force in international relations and the peaceful settlement of international disputes, 

    Calling attention to the importance of the Secretary-General continuing his efforts to give full effect to the mission entrusted to him by the General Assembly in its resolutions on the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), 

    Reaffirming the need for the parties to take due account of the interests of the population of the islands in accordance with the provisions of the General Assembly resolutions on the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), 

    1.  Reiterates that the way to put an end to the special and particular colonial situation in the question of  the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) is the peaceful and negotiated settlement of the dispute over sovereignty between the Governments of the Argentine Republic and the United Kingdom of Great 
Britain and Northern Ireland; 

    2.  Takes note of the views expressed by the President of the Argentine Republic on the occasion of the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly; 

    3.  Regrets that, in spite of the widespread international support for a negotiation between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom that includes all aspects of the future of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), the implementation of the General Assembly resolutions on this question has not yet started; 

    4.  Requests the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom to consolidate the current process of dialogue and cooperation through the resumption of negotiations in order to find as soon as possible a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute relating to the question of the Falkland 
Islands (Malvinas), in accordance with the provisions of General Assembly resolutions 2065 (XX), 3160 (XXVIII), 31/49, 37/9, 38/12, 39/6, 40/21, 41/40, 42/19 and 43/25; 

    5.  Reiterates its firm support for the mission of good offices of the Secretary-General in order to assist the parties in complying with the request made by the General Assembly in its resolutions on the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas); 

    6.  Decides to keep under review the question of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) subject to the directives that the General Assembly has issued and may issue in that regard. 

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