June 19, 2013
Argentina denounces UK ‘militarization’
US Secretary of State John Kerry avoids commenting on Malvinas
Argentina brought claims against the United Kingdom at the United Nations Conference on Disarmament yesterday, accusing the British of “militarizing the South Atlantic and the possible introduction of nuclear arms into the region.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Eduardo Zuaín yesterday spoke to a plenary of the conference in Geneva and stated that it “constituted a key centre for disarmament negotiations, in particular for nuclear disarmament, and should not be a place for mere dialogue.”
“Negative security assurances could seem to be an issue settled by the Latin American and Caribbean States since there is a nuclear arms ban in this region under the 1969 Tlatelolco Treaty,” said the official, speaking in Geneva yesterday.
However, implementation of that protocol was still “precarious,” and was also “challenged by the disproportionate military presence of the United Kingdom in the South Atlantic region, including the deployment of nuclear submarines with the capacity to carry nuclear weapons in the nuclear-free zone established by the Treaty of Tlatelolco,” continued Zuain.
“Argentina has expressed on a number of occasions its concern about the possibility that the United Kingdom had introduced nuclear armaments into the South Atlantic, regretting that the United Kingdom had ignored these appeals and had not clarified the related incidents. The Malvinas islands are among the most militarized territories in the world, including the deployment of naval forces, state of the art combat aircraft, a command centre and an intelligence base capable of monitoring air and naval traffic in the region.”
“This is an issue of concern not only for Argentina but also for a number of states in the area and beyond,” said the deputy minister,“as expressed by the Ibero-American Summit, Mercosur, the Rio Group, the Summit of South American-Arab Countries and the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone.”
In this context, Argentina appealed to the Conference to “relaunch substantive work, taking into account the dangers involved in the lack of global regulation.” Zuaín called on the states which had not already done so to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and stressed the importance of the detection mechanisms, already in partial operation, which it had set in place.
“In the current global security situation, a lot remains to be done. The Latin American and Caribbean region has shown its commitment in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation. The time has come for those states which still considered that nuclear weapons had a relevant role to make the necessary efforts to provide guarantees to non-nuclear states and their citizens,” concluded Zuain, who also condemned the recent nuclear tests carried out by North Korea.
The UK responded by repeating its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands and the importance it gave to the principle of self-determination.
“The British defensive military presence in the region, since the 1982 conflict, exists only to defend the right and freedom of the inhabitants of the islands to self-determination,” said a UK representative.
“Argentina’s position did not encourage more constructive relations in the South Atlantic, including issues which could prove to be mutually beneficial such as fisheries and conservation.”
KERRY AVOIDS PASSING COMMENT ON THE MALVINAS
Washington’s recently appointed Secretary of State, John Kerry, arrived in London yesterday as part of his first world tour since taking over from Hilary Clinton. In a speech yesterday with Foreign Secretary William Hague, both discussed Britain’s dispute with Argentina over the future of the Malvinas but Kerry declined to comment on the forthcoming referendum of islanders on whether they wish to remain a UK overseas territory.
Speaking alongside Hague at the Foreign Office, Kerry said the US government’s position on the Malvinas had not changed, adding: “We continue to urge a peaceful resolution of this critical issue.”
Asked if the democratic will of the Malvinas islanders should be respected once the upcoming referendum has been held, Kerry was quoted by the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph as saying: “First of all, I’m not going to comment, nor is the President, on a referendum which has yet to take place, hasn’t taken place. Our position on the Falklands has not changed.
“The United States recognizes de facto UK administration of the islands but takes no position on the question of the sovereignty claims of the parties thereto,” he continued.
“We support co-operation between UK and Argentina on practical matters,” added the secretary of state.
Herald with UN,Telegraph