David Moss, partner, Lovells

Opinion: The future of the Falklands: could it be compromise?

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  • Well Mr Moss, you demonstrate about as much moral principle as an Argentine dictator, and like so many of your ilk would compromise on just about anything when there is some money to be made.
    The truth is that the Argentines have never had any sustainable title to the Falklands, and peddle a highly distorted version of history to anyone who will listen, to whip up old anti-colonialist sentiment to support their claim. There was no native population on the Falkland Islands, and various expeditions and traders from Europe and the US set up here during the 1700's, including the British, French and Spanish, much of it long before Aregntina even existed. When Britain commenced its permanent settlement of the Islands in 1833 there was no other resident population.
    Many of us here can count back up to 9 generations of direct family descent in these Islands, and have as much right as any settled population to choose our own destiny. UN doctrine on self-determination is variously interpreted by many to suit their needs, but since Argentina never occupied these Islands (other than illegally in 1982), we are some 400 miles from the Argentine coast, way outside any modern territorial limits, and we are historically, culturally and geophysically separate from Latin America our cliam to self determination is as strong as any.

    There have been attempts before by appeasers and apologists to try to fudge the issue through joint administration. It will not work and has never worked.

    So let us stick to our moral principles and rely on the proper method of determination of political allegiance, and that is self determination for the people of our Islands. Basic human rights are not conditioned by how many people there are in a particular group, as you should very well know.

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  • "Malvinas" writes:-
    "In 1976 the UK decided not to return the islands after becoming aware of vast deposits of oil on the Malvinas/Falklands basin."
    Vast deposits? To date the prospecting has produced approximately one litre of oil: that may be all that is there, there may be more, there may be none economically recoverable, there may be a little of limited value (just as places in England have oil), but to assert that there are "vast deposits " makes it sound like Texas, Saudi or Alaska, which on present knowledge it plainly is not.
    If someone is spinning stories of "vast deposits" maybe they know something the oil companies don't...all detected with a hazel twig?

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  • I, for one, think Malvinas has presented the facts quite well. The rest of you are spouting subjective, nationalistic trash in your greedy quest for oil. Lets get it straight - BOTH Argentina and the UK couldn't care less about the Falklands (including its inhabitants). The only reason they do is due to the natural resources they would both like to exploit. At the end of the day - WHO CARES? When the world is facing shortages of clean water and food (both are in grave peril - perhaps not immediately, but in 10-20 years we have a real problem) no one will give a toss about oil...

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  • Another point to this un-balanced article which bothers me (aside from the lack of valid claim Argentina has and its complete ignoring of the wishes of the people of the Falklands): Argentina is also attempting to interfere with and influence the future of Kosovo purely in order to advance its own greed-based claims to the Falklands. Why should the people of Kosovo continue to suffer and be denied the right to self-determniation? Was Argentina interested in the region historically? It would appear not. It would further appear that the Argentines have based their position on whether to recognise Kosovo or not purely based on the way it would affect their claim to the Falklands. In February 2008, Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana was quoted as saying "if we were to recognize Kosovo, which has declared its independence unilaterally, without an agreement with Serbia, we would set a dangerous precedent that would seriously threaten our chances of a political settlement in the case of the Falkland Islands". Nice to know the decision was made in consideration of the issues at hand, then, not for reasons of self-advancedment.... oh wait....

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  • In reply to Malvinas
    Irrespective of the Treaty of Utrecht 1713 the Falkland Islands had not been settled by anyone apart from French seal hunters at that date and certainly were not a colony of Spain or anyone else.
    Fuller facts must be considered:
    The Falkland Islands were proclaimed a colony of Britain in 1765 and were settled by the British in 1766 at Port Egmont.
    In 1767 the French handed over their interest in the Islands (if any) to the Spanish in exchange of a sum of money who appointed a governor.
    In 1770 6 Spanish ships and 1400 men sailed to Port Egmont and demanded that the British leave.
    In 1771 the Spanish agreed to allow the restoration of the the British Settlement at Port Egmont but proclaimed that this act "cannot or should not in any way affect the question of the prior right to Sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands also called the Falklands."
    In 1774 the British withdrew their settlement at Port Egmont for Economic reasons but left a plaque claiming sovereignty of over the Islands- which was later removed by a Spanish naval officer and taken to Buenos Aires.
    Betweeen 1774 and 1811 a chain of Spanish governors "ruled" the Islands from Puerto Soledad.
    In 1810 Spanish rule in the La Plata Royalty was overthrown.
    In 1811 Spanish Settlements in the Falklands were withdrawn. The Spanish left a plaque claiming "This Island, together with its ports, buildings and outbuildings and everything in them belongs to Ferdinando VII king of Spain."
    In 1816 Argentina was established.
    Between 1811 and 1826 the islands were unoccupied.
    In 1820 Argentina claimed the Islands.
    In 1826 it established a settlement/fort at Puerto Soledad under protest from the British.
    The Argentine fort was destroyed by the Americans in 1831 after the Argentinians prevented them from hunting seals in the Islands.
    In 1833 HMS Clio landed her men, once again proclaimed British sovereignty and forced the Argentinians to leave.
    It seems to me that the United Kingdom and perhaps Spain have far earlier and stronger claims to the Falkland Islands than Argentina. The United Kingdom has never conceded that position and that the Islands have been British for longernthan Argentina hs existed. It might further be said that Argentina's claim is somehow based on its dubious usurpation of a possible Spanish claim to Sovereignty of the Islands.
    It is very difficult to see how any Argentinian claim to the Falklands Islands has any proper basis.

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  • This is one of the most interesting sequences of messages I've ever seen on the Lawyer - infinitely more so than the usual drivel about partners we have no interest in leaving or joining firms we've even less interest in.

    It is deeply insulting to the memory of those who died protecting the Falklands to say, as Julie Smethwick does, that "the UK couldn't care less about the Falklands".

    I've often said we should find some technical flaw in the Treaty of Paris, by which we conceded sovereignty to the USA.

    We should then declare war on them, but surrender almost immediately.

    They would then flood us with Marshall Aid, solving our economic problems forever!

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  • I do genuinely feel for those who fought [foolishly] for a cause not worth their lives, and do not wish to detract from the loss BUT to make my point clear - which is obviously lost on those not capable of independent thought and who only regurgitate what their national press or idiotic sense of patriotism dictates - the UK is ONLY interested in the Falklands for the oil so those who try to bash Argentina on those grounds are blatantly hypocritical. Your argument flops obviously and stupidly before it's even started.

    The more important point is that our society and species as a whole is in big trouble if we allow our politicians (yes, most of them are lawyers - perhaps the problem?) and media to distract us with petty arguments about land, greed and wealth, which draws attention away from real issues that threaten our very survival - like courts issuing decisions allowing corporations to patent living organisms. This threatens our food supply and therefore our very existence. Get a grip people.

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  • Give the Malvinas back and then Gibraltar

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  • Freedom for the back bedroom of No. 34 Accacia Avenue!

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  • I am really surprised by the comments made by Julie Smethwick. At first I thought it was to be a calm, reasoned and thoughtful argument. Then, after her second comment, I realised that she is as narrow-minded as those she accuses.
    She clearly has an agenda that ignores Falkland Islanders as simple pawns.
    The biggest and most important consideration is that any oil found around the Falklands will belong to the Islanders not to the United Kingdom. Of course, Britain has spent a fair amount of money both in developing the lives of the Islanders and their defence. But then the Falkland Islands have indicated their wish to make a greater contribution to their defence if oil revenues appear. This strikes me as a fair and free arrangement, unlike Argentina's imperialist/colonialist wish to rape the area. Given Argentina's human rights record, can anyone imagine that the Islanders could continue any lifestyle they wished under Argentine rule? I think not.
    Julia needs to deal with the world as it is, not through some suitably-tinted glasses. And what about Senor Chavez of Venezuela? A 21st century Hitler if ever there is one. What happens when he realises that if he can threaten the UK, he can certainly take over Argentina?

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