UK warned EU of “Argentina’s misinterpretation” on any Falklands reference
The British press is revealing some of the facts surrounding the European Union/Community of Latin American and Caribbean States summit, held in the third week of July in Brussels when Argentina celebrated that in the controversial final communiqué, a reference to the Falklands was changed to Malvinas Islands.
Allegedly Britain repeatedly warned the EU that Argentina would try to “misrepresent” any statement it made on the Falkland Islands but the bloc decided to issue one anyway, London has revealed.
A Foreign Office minister said both senior officials and ministers had raised concerns with Brussels about saying anything about the Islands in an official summit communiqué.
But the EU decided to press ahead and agreed to a statement which referred to the Islands as the “Islas Malvinas” – the name used by Argentina. The Argentine government claimed the statement as a diplomatic victory, while the UK criticized the EU as it demanded a clarification of the bloc’s position.
Apparently James Cleverly, the Foreign Secretary, sent a text message to Josep Borrell, a senior EU diplomat, (High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy), urging him to “keep the Falkland Islands out of the summit communiqué” because of fears any reference would be “spun by Argentina as support for their cause”.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, a Foreign Office minister, has now revealed the UK raised concerns at both senior official and ministerial level ahead of the summit to warn of the risk that “any language on the Falklands would be misrepresented by Argentina”.
Lord Ahmad said in an answer to a written parliamentary question: “The UK is unequivocal, including with the EU and its member states, that there can be no discussions on sovereignty unless the Falkland Islanders wish. “In a referendum in 2013, the Islanders overwhelmingly decided to remain part of the UK family.
“Ahead of the EU-CELAC .Summit, the UK engaged with the EU, at senior official and ministerial level, to underline the risks that any language on the Falklands would be misrepresented by Argentina as the EU taking a position on the issue.
“Following publication of the Summit communiqué we again engaged to express our disappointment at the language used, and to request that the EU publicly clarify that their position has not changed, and that they do not endorse the Argente position. They have since done so.”
The controversial joint declaration reads: “Regarding the question of sovereignty over the Islas Malvinas/Falkland Islands, the European Union took note of Celac’s historical position based on the importance of dialogue and respect for international law in the peaceful solution of disputes.”
Downing Street criticized the EU for its “regrettable choice of words”.
The EU sought to clarify its stance as it said “EU member states have not changed their views and positions concerning the Falklands/Islas Malvinas”.
A spokesman said: “The EU is not in a situation to express any position on the Falklands/Islas Malvinas, as there is not any council discussion on this matter.”