-OpEd-

BUENOS AIRES — The United Kingdom's intransigence over diplomatic negotiations regarding the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and surrounding maritime areas, is blocking the United Nations' repeated efforts to conclude this dispute over sovereignty.

The UN's Special Committee on Decolonization (C-24), which includes 29 states, has passed a resolution (proposed by all Latin American Committee members), which alongside more than 40 similar UN decisions, urges Argentina and Britain to conclude a decolonization process pending since 1833. The Special Committee has helped resolve 80 cases involving ex-colonies and 11 dependencies, and has 17 colonial questions left on its agenda.

This year, for the pandemic, the president of the C-24 replaced its meeting with a written resolution, with no objections or requests for a physical meeting — not even the United Kingdom, an observer at the Committee, or members from the British Commonwealth, voiced objection. There were no negative reactions or alternative texts to the one adopted unanimously. Yet in spite of the apparent consensus, London keeps ignoring the UN's mandate, as happens with other decolonization dossiers like the Chagos Islands or Gibraltar.

Britain's attitude exposes the limitations of multilateral diplomacy.

The United Kingdom's inaction shows disdain for the UN, which is disconcerting given its permanent membership on the Security Council. It conveys an attitude of abuse of power, and subjects UN resolutions to the dictates of politics and force. It is the type of conduct that hurts the principle of equality among nations and jeopardizes peace and international security.

More broadly, Britain's attitude exposes the limitations of multilateral diplomacy, and reveals the C-24's resolution of political support to be insufficient.

One should consider the question from a wider, strategic and geopolitical perspective, and measures being approved by the Argentine Congress are a good step in that direction. The country must also boost its presence across the continental platform and maritime areas of the South Atlantic, in particular with regards fishing and oceanographic research into the Atlantic ecosystem.

Argentina should come to see scientific knowledge as a pillar and instrument of power, and especially amplify its effective capacity to administer the 1.7 million square kilometers now added to the existing Exclusive Economic Zone. Sovereignty in knowledge must become another standard of our diplomacy to recover the Falklands and affirm our presence.


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