Falklands : MPs Press Conference (Part 3)
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 23.02.2003 (Article Archived on 09.03.2003)
In this final section, MPs talk about the benefit of dialogue and the awaited Long-Term Fisheries Agreement.
VISITING MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT PRESS CONFERENCE
PW: Moving away from politics, letís get back to the Falklands. As you are probably aware, since 1999 as a result of agreements which our Councillors approved, we now have some contact with Argentina in that the LanChile flight stops there once a month on the way over and the way back. Argentines are allowed into the Falklands and there is going to be a memorial in the Argentine Cemetery at Darwin. Do you feel that there is room for any improvements here?
NE: Itís going to take a while. Confidence building measures have to come over a period of time because itís still alive in peopleís memories here Ė what happened in 1982. And, I do hope that the confidence building measures can continue and a second LanChile flight, I think, would be certainly one area where that would prove beneficial Ė greatly beneficial to the Falkland Islands. And, I hope that is something that they can continue to do. Day by day, it will carry on and continue. One thing I would dearly love is that Argentina would drop any claims to the Falkland Islands completely. I know they have said that they wouldnít use force to "regain" them. I think to actually drop the claim would be something that I would really dearly love to see but if thatís not forthcoming, at least confidence building measures that will win the support of the people of the Falkland Islands is something that will be greatly useful.
AC: The level of links that you have with Argentina is something that you have to determine yourself. And, our role in that is giving you the security so you can make that decision for yourselves, to make you feel that you can build bridges that you choose to but that you are not going to be forced into building bridges because you are in a position of weakness. As I read it, that wasnít the situation you were in before 1982, so thatís why I will support your self-determination in a practical sense.
RO: You are sitting here looking at an Englishman, a Scotsman and a Welshman, all of whom have had their differences historically in the past. And, who, by the result of dialogue which resolved them and we work together. I am not suggesting that between Argentina, the United Kingdom and the Falklands but dialogue is everything. The more you can talk, the less likely you are to fight. I would encourage the Falkland Islands Government to engage in as much dialogue as possible.
AC: Of course, it is significant that only the Englishman thinks that the differences have been settled.
RO: Your fore-bearers signed the same treaty as mine did.
PW: The Falkland Islands Government should engage in dialogue with Argentina? Is that what you are saying?
RO: I would encourage you to engage in as much dialogue with Argentina as possible. The issue which we spoke about today, there has to be co-operation there to protect the stocks of fish, indeed, too, to ensure that people without licences arenít coming in. Thatís one area of co-operation where itís been slow to build but at least we have seen some light at the end of the tunnel there.
FINN: As part of that 1999 Joint Statement, there was provision for working towards a long-term fisheries agreement that we have been trying to get for years prior to the agreement. I was wondering if you had any news or was there anybody that you could put pressure on to help us get that agreement? The effort made thus far by both sides seems to have fizzled out somehow.
AC: I have no problem with that. The establishment of mutual management in terms of fisheries is something I preach daily for the management of fish stocks in the North Sea and to the west of Scotland. So, itís something that I would be more than happy to see work down here. It is obviously in everybodyís interest that you have that sort of structure put in place so that the stock levels are maintained at a sustainable level. And, you have a very fragile situation with the Illex Squid that has a one-year life-cycle. It wouldnít take a great deal of over-fishing just to wipe out stocks completely, whereas with longer living and slower maturing fish, you have a longer period for which to deplete the stocks and you can have more opportunity to build them back up. The impact of depleting Illex on your economy and on the Argentine Economy is obviously dramatic. I think you have a common interest there and itís one that I would be certainly keen to see pursued.
NE: Can I thank you. I can just assure you that we will be keeping a constant interest in whatís going on here.
(100X Transcription Service)