Ambassador Kent: “Bilateral ties improving but Falkland islanders will define their own future”

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Sunday, June 18th 2017 – 16:06 UTC

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Ambassador Mark Kent: “We do not see Argentina as an enemy”
The British ambassador to Argentina, Mark Kent, underlined the United Kingdom’s intentions to “improve” bilateral relations and admitted a meeting between President Mauricio Macri and Prime Minister Theresa May within the framework of the G20 was possible. However, he made it clear that with regards to the Falkland Islands question “the islanders have the right to define their own future.”
According to Kent, relations between the two governments “are better than yesterday and not as good as they can be tomorrow.” He added that “we are in a process of strengthening ties and we want to improve relations with Argentina. We have many things in common today and we want to support Argentina in the G20 and also in the ILO.”
The British ambassador highlighted the shift in the relationship between the two governments since the arrival of Mauricio Macri at the Pink House (Casa Rosada government building). Under the new conditions, “I am confident that there will be more UK investments in Argentina,” Kent said.
“We have seen an interest of the investors in Argentina. The investment process takes time. From the general interest to completion of business takes time. But I am confident that there will be more investments in Argentina. There is much to offer in Argentina in mining, infrastructure, agro industry. Investors are seeking – as in the whole world – transparency, legal security, simplicity of investments, lack of bureaucracy, political security, and the Argentine government understands this well,” he added.
“Argentina has intentions to join the OECD and this would be important in terms of establishing international standards of trade and investment,” Kent elaborated.
When asked about the role the Falklands/Malvinas issue would play in these renewed, better relationship, Kent replied that “the important thing is to show empathy on both sides and to have a policy of greater contacts – conflict has led nowhere and in any relationship there will never be a hundred percent agreement on all issues.”
He went on to specify that “the islanders have rights and they must have the final word on the future of the islands … and the right to define their own future and they will carry their position forward.” But he also announced that his government and the islanders are “ready” to negotiate with Buenos Aires the restitution of flights from the Falklands to the Continent, including an eventual stop in Buenos Aires.
“This is part of the joint statement and we want to achieve this,” Kent said. “We are ready to work on this because I believe that as long as we all have better communications with the Continent it will be better.”
The diplomat also referred to the current operation under the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to identify the bodies of Argentine soldiers buried at the Darwin cemetery.
“We are working with the Red Cross to carry out the identification of soldiers on the islands. We have to take into account the issue of the veterans and we are supporting the contact between veterans of both sides. There is mutual understanding and respect in it. They are people who have experienced extreme experiences and shared the same experience. There is a lot of respect between both sides,” Kent said.
Asked about how things were presently he replied: “I can say that we do not see Argentina as an enemy. But the British government is responsible for the security of the islands.”
He admitted that a meeting between Macri and May at the G20 meeting in Hamburg in July was possible. “I do not yet have confirmation of that meeting, but it is normal that there are meetings between the President and our prime minister in the G20 context,” he concluded as he recalled that Argentina is to chair the G20 in 2018 and host its AGM in Buenos Aires. (Source: Infobae)

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Prince Andrew attends Falklands War anniversary service

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service at Pangbourne
The service was held at the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel at Pangbourne College

The Duke of York has joined other Falklands veterans at a service to mark the 35th anniversary of the end of the conflict.

Prince Andrew, who was a Royal Navy helicopter pilot in the war, paid his respects at the chapel of Pangbourne College in Berkshire.

The service was relayed on screens outside the chapel, to allow 870 veterans and relatives to take part.

Britain accepted the Argentine surrender on 14 June 1982.

Prince Andrew
The Duke of York read a lesson at the 35th anniversary service
service at Pangbourne
Some of the congregation watched the service on a screen outside the chapel

Among those in the congregation was Ellie Smith, whose husband Petty Officer Ben Casey was one of the first servicemen to be killed in the conference.

She said: “My husband always said he loved fighting for what was right. I have a lot of love and a lot of pride in my heart.”

Another attendee, Rear Admiral Jeremy Sanders said: “It did get quite close because ships were getting tired, ammunition was constantly having to be resupplied.”

Ellie Smith and Ben Casey
Ellie Smith’s husband Ben Casey was one of the first serviceman killed in the war
Rear Admiral Jeremy Sanders
Rear Admiral Jeremy Sanders said the outcome of the war “got quite close because ships were getting tired”

Catholics and Anglicans together under one roof – Vatican Connections (10/2016)

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Reefer stranded in South Atlantic towed outside Falklands Conservation zone

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Saturday, May 13th 2017 – 08:31 UTC

Baltmed Reefer Services revealed on Friday the stranded reefer had been towed outside the FOCZ, but with a situation “constantly evolving”.(Pic PN) 

Baltmed Reefer Services revealed on Friday the stranded reefer had been towed outside the FOCZ, but with a situation “constantly evolving”.(Pic PN)

 

The reefer stranded in the South Atlantic after she was abandoned by the crew given its precarious situation caused by serious flooding of its holds, has been towed outside the Falkland Islands Outer Conservation Zone, according to the latest report from Baltmed Reefer Services operator of “Uruguay Reefer”.

”The MV Uruguay Reefer was towed by the escorting vessel, also managed by Baltmed Reefer Services, to an area in international waters approximately 202 NM north east of Stanley (Falklands’ capital)“.

However the Athens based company strongly points out that the vessel’s situation is ”constantly evolving“, since the Uruguay Reefer continues to put in water.

When the emergency situation of the ”Uruguay Reefer” became known and confirmed by a release from the managers earlier in the week, the Falkland Islands government got in contact with Baltmed Reefer Services to impress upon the need to find a solution which avoids the vessel sinking in Falklands Conservation Zones.

On Sunday 7th May, when the decision to abandon the ship was taken as the flooding could not be contained, 42 crew members were transferred to the escorting vessel MV Taganrogskiy Zalivt, the Uruguay Reefer was reported in the Falkland Islands Outer Conservation Zone (FOCZ), 96 miles south east from Stanley.

FIG then decided to send the Fisheries Patrol Vessel Protegat to the scene where it has been monitoring the situation, given concerns the reefer is loaded with 560 tons of heavy fuel oil and 180 tons of marine gas oil, and apparently she was doomed.

However Baltmed Reefer Services revealed on Friday the stranded reefer had been towed outside the FOCZ, but with a situation “constantly evolving”.

Adding that ”the towing has stopped due to the fact that the Uruguay Reefer is in a precarious condition and the escorting vessel (another carrier- not a professional tug) is currently unable to continue the towing effort“.

In effect ”the situation will be reassessed when the nearest (professional) tug approaches. The estimated time of the tug’s arrival is 14/5 am. The Uruguay Reefer continues to put in water“.

”Uruguay Reefer” is reported to have a nearly full cargo of frozen Illex squid and Krill and is also reported to have sustained hull damage, probably ice, whilst operating with Krill vessels around the South Shetland Islands, 75 miles north of the Antarctic Peninsula.

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Falkland Islands basin shows signs of being among world’s largest craters

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Friday, May 5th 2017 – 10:53 UTC

 Depicted above are the Islands and a notable increase in the strength of Earth’s magnetism in the area (in red) (National Centers for Environmental Information).
Depicted above are the Islands and a notable increase in the strength of Earth’s magnetism in the area (in red) (National Centers for Environmental Information).

A basin in the Falkland Islands exhibits traits of a large impact crater, according to a new analysis by a team of United States, Argentine and Paraguayan scientists. The structure measures approximately 250 kilometers, or more than 150 miles, in diameter and is described in the latest issue of the journal Terra Nova.

“If the Falklands basin is really an impact crater, and it has some of the most telling features, then it is one of the largest known,” observes Michael Rampino, a professor in New York University’s Department of Biology and one of the paper’s co-authors.

The researchers, who also include Max C.L. Rocca of Argentina’s Planetary Society and Paraguay-based geologist Jaime Báez Presser, acknowledge that samples from the site are necessary to confirm the conclusions of the analysis.

The basin is situated on the Falkland Plateau to the northwest of West Falkland. Seen in seismic-reflection profiles, and in gravity and magnetic surveys, it has traits that are consistent with impact craters, which are caused by collisions with asteroids and comets. Approximately 200 such craters have been discovered on Earth.

The scientists estimate the age of the basin to be from the late Paleozoic Era—approximately 270 to 250 million years ago.

“If the proposed crater turns out to be 250 million years old, it could correlate with the largest mass extinction ever–the Permian extinctions, which wiped out more than 90% of all species,” observes Rampino. He and his colleagues also point to specific features that indicate the basin is an impact crater.

They note that it is completely buried by sediments from more recent eras, which indicates it was formed long before its surroundings, and that it has no topographic expression on the present sea floor.

Key to the basin’s identification as a potential impact crater are the decrease in the strength of Earth’s gravity over the site, indicating a large basin filled with younger low-density sediments, and a strong increase in the strength of Earth’s magnetism at the site. The latter is characteristic of large impact structures—notably, the 66-million-year-old, 200-kilometer diameter Chicxulub impact crater discovered in the Yucatan in the late 1970s.

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Falklands: Malcorra cautious about EU’s position on the dispute following Brexit

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Saturday, April 22nd 2017 – 09:35 UTC
“So when Brexit takes place, the EU could evaluate a decision on how to proceed and how to stand on these issues and there may be a change” Malcorra said
“So when Brexit takes place, the EU could evaluate a decision on how to proceed and how to stand on these issues and there may be a change” Malcorra said
“But I think it is still very preliminary, Brexit has just started and there are multiple themes. So, we follow closely.”
But I think it is still very preliminary, Brexit has just started and there are multiple themes. So, we follow closely.”
falklands-referendum
Under the EU’s 2009 Lisbon Treaty, the Falkland Islands are a British Overseas Territory to which some EU rules apply.(Pic M. Short)

The European Union could reevaluate its position on the disputed Falkland Islands after Britain leaves the bloc, Argentina’s foreign minister said in Brussels, where she attended a meeting with EU negotiators on Mercosur/EU trade discussions.

“It is true that the European Union, through the EU agreements, is bonded very firmly and very strongly to the United Kingdom,” Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra said in Brussels when asked whether Brexit would affect the diplomatic situation regarding the Falklands/Malvinas.

“So when Brexit takes place, the EU could evaluate a decision on how to proceed and how to stand on these issues and there may be a change” in its position, she added.

“But I think it is still very preliminary, Brexit has just started and there are multiple themes. So, we follow closely.”

Under the EU’s 2009 Lisbon Treaty, the Falkland Islands are a British overseas territory to which some EU rules apply.

The Falklands conflict in 1982, which came after Argentine troops invaded the Islands and Britain’s then premier Margaret Thatcher sent in a naval task force to recover them, claimed the lives of 649 Argentine troops, 255 British soldiers and three Islanders.

But it remains a live issue on both sides, with a former British political leader earlier this month even comparing a dispute with Spain over Gibraltar’s post-Brexit fate to the Falklands conflict.

Michael Howard, a former leader of the ruling Conservative Party, said that current leader Theresa May would “show the same resolve” on Gibraltar as Thatcher had on the Falklands.

In 2013, almost 100% of the Falkland Islands’ residents voted in favor of remaining as a British Overseas Territory.

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Britain Invokes Memory of Thatcher, Falkland Campaign As Spain Seizes Gibraltar as Brexit Bargaining Chip

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2 Apr, 2017 2 Apr, 2017

    On the 35th anniversary of the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands, Senior members of Britain’s ruling Conservative party hit back at the European Union and Spain after Britain’s ownership of the Gibraltar territory was seized as a bargaining chip by Brussels for the forthcoming Brexit talks.

Following comments by the European Council on Friday that could hand a veto to Spain on any Brexit decision that involves Gibraltar, the British sovereign territory on the Iberian peninsula that is the subject of a longstanding claim by Spain, British political leaders hit back in strong terms.

Making clear that the sovereignty of Gibraltar was not up for negotiation, defence minister Michael Fallon told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme Sunday morning that “The people of Gibraltar have made it clear they don’t want to live under the sovereignty of Spain. Gibraltar is going to be protected all the way”.

In his remarks, Sir Michael referred to the 2002 Gibraltar sovereignty referendum, which asked residents whether they wanted control of the territory to be shared between the UK and Spain. Over 98 per cent said no.

Stating Britain’s determination to see the will of the people of Gibraltar was protected, former Conservative party leader and now member of the House of Lords Michael Howard said Britain would go to war over Gibraltar if it had to.

Speaking to Sky News Sunday morning, Lord Howard compared the spat over Gibraltar to the successful British military campaign to retake the Falkland Islands in 1982. He said: “There is no question whatever that our Government will stand by Gibraltar.

“Thirty-five years ago this week another woman Prime Minister sent a task force half-way across the world to defend the freedom of another small group of British people against another Spanish-speaking country.

“I am absolutely certain our current Prime Minister will show the same resolve in standing by the people of Gibraltar”.

London’s Timesreports government insiders who revealed the British government purposefully did not mention Gibraltar in the Article 50 letter presented to the European Union this week, at the request of Madrid, and against the will of the Gibraltar government who lobbied to be included. Having secured London’s cooperation in this matter, the report claims Spanish negotiators went behind Britain’s back at the European Union to ensure Gibraltar would be a subject of discussion.The deceit reportedly took London by surprise, and the Falkland overtones from London may be seen as a clear indication that the government will not be pushed around in the coming negotiations.

The Royal Navy maintains a full-time squadron of small patrol craft at Gibraltar, a move made necessary by the near constant illegal incursions into Gibraltar waters by Spanish government ships. The cat-and-mouse game of Spanish military, police, and coast guard craft presuming jurisdiction over Gibraltar and being intercepted by British forces has been ongoing for decades.

Britain’s elite force of Royal Marines was crucial in the campaign to retake the Falkland Islands in 1982, yet as senior members of Britain’s ruling party discuss using force to protect the sovereignty of another British Overseas Territory the future of the amphibious assault force is under threat.

As their parent force the Royal Navy continues to struggle with funding and manpower as it prepares to bring a new generation of aircraft carriers into service after decades of severe budget cuts from successive governments, the Royal Marines have been earmarked for significant reductions.

April 2nd marks the 35th anniversary of the Argintine invasion of the Falkland Islands.

 

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