06 July 2015

Argentina seeks Saudi support over Falklands

Arab News

RIYADH: Argentina is seeking the support of Saudi Arabia in its dispute with the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands.

This was the appeal of the country’s Ambassador Jaime Sergio Cerda during a seminar recently on the matter at his residence in the Diplomatic Quarter.

The Falkland Islands, in Spanish the Malvinas, are ruled currently by Britain as one of its overseas territories, while Argentina regards them as occupied territory.

“The Malvinas Islands are part of Argentine territory inherited from Spain as decided by the first independent Argentinian government in 1810,” the ambassador said.

The principal islands are about 480 km east of South America’s southern Patagonian coast. The archipelago, with a total area of over 12,000 square km, bigger than the size of Lebanon, comprises 778 islands with a population of around 2,500 inhabitants.

“In 1965 the United Nations General Assembly recognized, in its resolution No. 2065, the dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom and invited both countries to negotiate a bilateral peaceful solution, taking into account the interests of the inhabitants,” he said.

“In December 2015, it will be 50 years since the adoption of that resolution but no such negotiation has begun. Repeated Argentinian calls for it has been met by total British rejection,” he said.

Cerda said that in addition to the UN, various prominent international forums have called for the two countries to resolve the dispute through bilateral negotiations, in particular the Third Summit of South American-Arab Countries, of which both Argentina and Saudi Arabia are members, held in Lima, Peru on Oct. 2, 2012.

The ambassador told Arab News that his embassy organized the seminar to inform Saudis, businesspersons, university professors, intellectuals, Shoura Council members and diplomats, about this issue.

“We did this because the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a very important actor today in various international forums, including the United Nations, the G-20 and many regional bodies in the Middle East,” he said.

“In many countries groups called ‘Support Groups on the Question of the Malvinas Islands’ was established to spread information on the history of the dispute and promote a peaceful solution,” he said.

“We already have such a support group here in the Kingdom, comprising Saudi citizens who with conviction help the work of the embassy. Of course, public opinion and civil society are central to our task,” he said. 

Haitham Bouzu, president of the Saudi Support Group for Argentinian Rights, addressed the seminar and said the group had gathered to call for bilateral negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom to end the dispute, in accordance with the UN resolution.

The body was established in 2011 and consists of volunteers who are willing to support causes in the world that has Saudi government backing in terms of UN resolutions.