May 21, 2013
'Vatican has no role to play in Malvinas,' UK
The United Kingdom played down the request made by President Cristina Fernández to Pope Francis to intervene in the Malvinas Islands sovereignty dispute.
The British Foreign Office said today that Britain does not expect the pontiff to intervene in the islands dispute, and remembered that the Islanders have recently confirmed their will of remaining as a British Overseas Territory in a referendum performed in the South Atlantic archipelago.
A spokesman of the British Foreign Office indicated today that the United Kingdom “does not expect the Vatican’s stance on the Malvinas case to change after the request made to the pontiff by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.”
Likewise, the spokesman remarked that “The Vatican has been very clear about this matter, indicating that the Falkland Islands [Malvinas] dispute is between two free nations and they [Vatican] have no role to play. And we do not expect them to change that position.”
Fernández has repeatedly demanded that Britain begin negotiations over the sovereignty of the islands the two countries went to war over just over 30 years ago – a demand rejected by the British government.
The Foreign Office had also made its position clear last week by issuing a friendly warning on the matter when a spokesman said “We wish Pope Francis every success in his papal duties. Our position on the Falklands [Malvinas] remains, as ever, that the people who live there should be free to determine their own futures."
While it was Pope Alexander VI who divided the New World between Portugal and Spain in the 15th century, there are no recent precedents for a pope becoming involved in a territorial dispute and experts believe it is unlikely he would wish – or have the time – to become embroiled in the matter.