REPRESENTATIVES of a Falkland Islands delegation were met with silence when they told a UN committee they wished to maintain their links to Britain.
Two politician’s and six young people represented the islands at the annual meeting of the UN Decolonisation Committee, which scheduled a talk on the Falklands at the request of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on the 30th anniversary of Britain’s defeat of Argentina’s invasion force.
Ms Kirchner swept into the conference room with a delegation of more than 90 Argentinians and criticised the decision to mark the anniversary by flying the Falklands flag over 10 Downing Street.
While accusing Britain of abusing its power as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, lying about the islands’ history and acting as “a bully”, she said she came “without any rancour”.
“We’re not asking for much,” Ms Kirchner added. “We’re just asking to talk. We’re not asking anyone to say ‘yes’ the Malvinas are Argentina’s.”
After her lengthy speech she received sustained applause but after the Falklands representatives spoke, there was silence.
Falklands legislator Roger Edwards accused Argentina of seeking to take away the rights of the islanders and subject them to “colonialism”.
“Today all that we ask for is the right to determine our own future without the bullying tactics of a neighbouring country,” he said.
Fellow legislator Mike Summers said Argentina’s claims to the Falklands are based “on spurious and dubious historical ‘facts’ and interpretations” and accused “a very much larger, aggressive and uncaring neighbour” of trying to break international laws and subvert human rights “so long as it can get our land”.
Mr Summers held up a letter from the Falkland Islands government inviting the Argentinian government “to sit down and listen to the views of the people of the Falkland Islands and enter into a dialogue designed to find ways to cooperate in matters of mutual interest”.
He asked the Argentinian delegation to invite him to deliver the invitation to Ms Kirchner but that was ignored. A British diplomat said it was finally accepted by an Argentine delegation member.