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Falklands : ARGENTINA COULD PULL COMPLETELY OUT OF THE 1999 AGREEMENT
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 11.01.2011 (Article Archived on 25.01.2011)

According to the Latin American Press a change in attitude and focus has caused both Kirchner Governments in Argentina to abandon the tenants of the 1999 agreement between Argentina and the United Kingdom regarding the Falkland Islands.

Photo (c) J. Brock (FINN)

ARGENTINA COULD PULL COMPLETELY OUT OF THE 1999 AGREEMENT

An Editorial by J. Brock (FINN)

 

(c) J. Brock (FINN) 

 Former Councillor Eric Goss, who was at Goode Green during the 1982 conflict with Argentina demonstrates against the agreement on 11 July 1999.

 

According to the Latin American Press a change in attitude and focus has caused both Kirchner Governments in Argentina to abandon the tenants of the 1999 agreement between Argentina and the United Kingdom regarding the Falkland Islands.  Practically only the regularly scheduled LAN flight remains part of the document as agreed on 14 July 1999.  That flight initially is between Punta Arenas in Chile and Mount Pleasant Airport in the Falkland Islands, with one flight per month stopping in Rio Gallegos – one week the plane lands there and the following week it returns to the Falklands via Rio Gallegos.

 

Much of the exit happened in 2007 when co-operation over fisheries and hydrocarbons ceased.  It is with a tinge deja-vu that it is the Argentines and not the British who are pulling out of this agreement.

 

Initially there was scepticism on both sides about what must be given up in order to make the agreement work.  On 11 July 1999 there was a demonstration in the Falklands against the agreement and it looks like the demonstrators are getting some of what what they wanted.

 

After it was signed businesses in Chile and the Falklands began to take advantage of regularly scheduled charter flights with the mainland.  I remember the very charming team from Isenbek – a firm of brewers.  Their beer was sold in Stanley’s pubs and compared with other locally sourced brands.

 

Fisheries in Argentina and the Falklands benefited from joint scientific cruises.  Biomass – an important figure in the calculation of Total Allowable Catch (TAC) – was assessed on both sides and, until 2007, the joint scientific cruises helped to keep sustainable fisheries in Falklands and in Argentine waters.  One recent result of non-co-operation is the commercial extinction of Southern Blue Whiting.  All straddling fish stocks could be commercially endangered as the lines of communication are blocked.

 

A special area of co-operation as well as a hydrocarbons commission was set up to help regulate oil exploration and ultimately exploitation in the area.   Without the vital co-operative relations with Argentina regarding hydrocarbons exploration the situation deteriorated, with a divisive and unwarranted media storm ensuing.

 

 

There were also some cultural exchanges between Argentina and the Falklands, the latest being a visit Argentine rugby players.

 

Most meaningful were the next of Kin visits that took place during this time, when small groups came to the Darwin Cemetery to pay respects to Argentine war dead.  The numbers increased in 2009 when two flights on 03 and 10 October brought several hundred Next of Kin to the Falklands for a 90 minute visit.

 

During the 11 July demonstration Islanders were against having Argentines visit the Falklands as tourists and thought these flights to be the thin edge of the wedge leading to regularly scheduled direct flights between Argentina and the Falklands.  Many remembered having to carry “white cards” instead of passports when they flew to Argentina.  Memories of the occupation were too raw not to demonstrate.

 

It is FINN’s opinion that pulling out of any part of the 1999 Agreement is a retrograde step; but eleven years on it is the Argentines and not the Falkland Islands Government pulling the plug.  Somehow, FINN can’t see all of the demonstrators pictured  being happy with Argentine negation of the agreement.

 

It took a lot of work and great courage to strike this agreement; and it is not the Falklands’ fault that it has been chiselled away piece by piece.

 

 

 

Please see below the agreement that the Argentines are negating. 

 

 

AGREEMENT OF 14th JULY 1999

I  Introduction

United Kingdom and Argentine delegations met in London on 13 and 14 July in a constructive and friendly atmosphere, to continue the dialogue begun in London on 26 and 27 May and continued in New York on 2 July.  The United Kingdom delegation was led by the Secretary of State, Robin Cook, and the Argentine delegation by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Worship, Guido Di Tella.  The United Kingdom delegation included members of the Falkland Islands Legislative Council.

The two Ministers recalled the Joint Statements made by the United Kingdom and Argentine delegations in Madrid on 19 October 1989 and 15 February 1990, which made possible the normalisation of relations between the two countries, and the re-establishment of successful co-operation in the bilateral sphere.  They agreed that the formula on sovereignty in paragraph 2 of the Joint Statement of 19 October 1989 applied to this Joint Statement and to its consequences.

They welcome the improved understanding and degree of reconciliation in the bilateral relationship marked by the exchange of visits of the President of Argentina in October 1998 and HRH The Prince of Wales in March 1999.

The two parties reached agreement on the following points.

II  Access and Air Services

1.  Argentine citizens will be able to visit the Falkland Islands, on their own passports.  This provision applies equally to Argentine citizens travelling by air and sea.

2.  Full support for the immediate resumption of direct scheduled civil air services between Chile and the Falkland Islands by Lan Chile or any other carrier agreed between the Parties.  From 16 October 1999, these services will include stops in mainland Argentina, where they will be able to take on and discharge passengers, cargo and mail.

3.  The possibility of flights between the Falkland Islands and third countries was welcomed with the option, from 16 October 1999, of making stops in mainland Argentina.

III Fishing

In the light of the shared commitment to the maintenance and conservation of fish stocks in the South Atlantic, existing levels of cooperation between the United Kingdom and Argentina will be enhanced.  In this context officials will meet shortly to consider the question of the relative stability of fish stocks, poaching, and other questions related to it and to recommend coordinated programmes of practical measures with the objective of putting them in place before 9 October 1999.

IV Confidence Building

1.  With a view to the further development of reconciliation and mutual understanding: a memorial to members of the Argentine armed services killed in action in 1982 will be constructed at the Argentine cemetery in the Falkland Islands.

2.  The Argentine Government is prepared to look at the question of toponomy in the Falkland Islands.  To that end it will continue to consult the appropriate national institutions.

3.  As the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the President of Argentina agreed in October 1998, the two Governments will continue to work together to evaluate the feasibility and cost of clearing the land mines still present in the Falkland Islands.

V  Procedures

1.  The implementation of the arrangements detailed in this joint statement will be recorded in an exchange of letters between the two Governments.

2.  The Governments will jointly send the text of the present statement and the accompanying letters, in English and Spanish, to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for distribution as an official document of the General Assembly under the appropriate item of the Agenda of the next regular session.

3.  This joint statement, as well as the arrangements deriving from it, will be kept under review by the two Governments.

The document was signed by Foreign Secretary Robin Cook for Britain and by Foreign Minister Guido Di Tella for Argentina.  Two Falklands Councillors, Michael Summers and Sharon Halford, who were technically members of the British delegation, signed as witnesses.

His Excellency Dr. Guido Di Tella,


Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Worship,


Republic of Argentina

 

Robin Cook’s Side Letter:

I have the honour to refer to our Joint Statement signed in London on 14 July 1999.  This Statement provided for an exchange of letters, to which the formula on sovereignty in paragraph 2 of the Joint Statement issued at Madrid on 19 October 1989 applies, to record the understandings between our Governments on its detailed implementation.

In this respect I have the honour to propose the following arrangements:

I  Visits

(1)  An Argentine passport valid for the duration of the intended stay will be needed by an Argentine citizen for visits to the Falkland Islands.

(2)  Argentine passports presented by visitors to the Falkland Islands will be stamped on the same basis as all other passports presented by visitors to the Falkland Islands.

(3)  The number of visitors to the Falkland Islands at any one time needs to reflect local capacity including the availability of accommodation.  Visitors will be required to arrange accommodation in advance and to have a return ticket and sufficient funds for their intended stay.

II  Air Services

(1)  The Argentine Government will seek the consent of the Chilean Government to the immediate resumption of civil air services between Chile and the Falkland Islands, operated by Lan Chile or any other carrier agreed between the Parties.

(2)  It is envisaged that civil air services between Punta Arenas and the Falkland Islands will take place once a week.  From 16 October 1999 they will make initially two stops per month at Rio Gallegos, one in each direction.  This arrangement will be kept under review.

(3)  In the event that the Punta Arenas service does not continue, one of any successor or substituting civil air services will make a stop in mainland Argentina, initially at a rate or two stops per month, one in each direction.

(4)  Flight clearances issued by the Argentine authorities for civil air services to the Falkland Islands will enable the carrier or carriers to postpone flights for natural or technical reasons.

(5)  Should civil air services between the Falkland Islands and third countries be operated then the option of making stops in mainland Argentina may only be exercised after 16 October 1999 by the operators based on overall commercial considerations and subject to the appropriate authorisation by the parties.

(6)  The Argentine Government will seek the support of its Mercosur partners for these arrangements.

III  Transit

The Argentine authorities will consider as "in transit" all passengers, cargo and mail arriving by air in the Argentine mainland which is en route to or from the Falkland Islands when they are not destined for the Argentine mainland.

IV  Fisheries

(1)  The British and Argentine Governments will convene a meeting of the South Atlantic Fisheries Commission.  It will discuss ways of developing their mutual interest in the conservation of fisheries resources of the South Atlantic including the relative stability of stocks and their economic significance for the area.  The meeting's agenda will also include consideration of multilateral arrangements relating to the high seas fisheries.

(2)  They will also explore and recommend practical ways of dealing with poaching in the South Atlantic including amongst other things the exchange of information and data, ways of enhancing fisheries protection measures and helping develop secure fisheries communications channels.

V  Confidence Building

The details of the memorial referred to in Paragraph IV. 1 of the Joint Statement of 14 July 1999 will be agreed mutually.

VI  Humanitarian Visits

(1)  The Joint Statement of 14 July replaces the special arrangements based on humanitarian considerations and the provisions in Paragraph 10 of the Joint Statement of 15 February 1990 for visits to the Falkland Islands by close relatives of Argentine nationals buried there, including civil charter flights between the Argentine mainland and the Falkland Islands for the purpose of these visits.

(2)  Argentine nationals visiting the Falkland Islands will continue to be able to visit cemeteries where members of the Argentine armed services killed in action in the 1982 conflict have been buried.

VII  Detailed Arrangements

Officials of our two Governments will discuss the detailed implementation of these arrangements as a matter of urgency.

I should be grateful if you could confirm that the foregoing represents the understanding of our two Governments with regard to this matter.

Robin Cook

 

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