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The question of the sovereignty of the Falklands still remains an open question today. The conflict itself proved the determination of the United Kingdom to keep and support the Falklands. The Isles population holds more than privileged links to Great Britain and it is not audacious to state that if a referendum were held on this question, the number of votes favourable to maintaining the present situation would be almost 100%. From the international law position none of the arguments of either side allow a clear decision to be made.
At the moment relations between Argentina and Great Britain are tending towards normalization. The question of sovereignty has been put aside to allow an evolution of negotiations based on more concrete elements. Strangely this effort by London to reduce tension is not well seen by the vast majority of the Falklands inhabitants. They have the feeling that Great Britain is disengaging itself from them; moreover the local population has not really any way of influencing the British who are responsible for defence and the foreign affairs of the island.
We were surprised to see that this conflict was still present, not so much in the vestiges and monuments spread out on the isles, but in the worries of the local people.
The English captain John Strong lands on the Falklands and the British declare their sovereignty on the isles.
The English are the first to settle on the West Falkland island.
The British leave the Falklands for economic reasons. The Spanish stay on the islands until 1811. Spain is about to lose control of its colonies in South America.
Argentina, liberated from Spanish control, installs a governor and colony in the Falklands.
So as to prevent the Americans taking the Isles, the British take back the Falklands from Argentina without firing a shot.
2nd April 1982
The Argentinian Navy lands several thousand men on the Falklands and takes over the isles.
14th June 1982
The Argentinian forces surrender. The Argentinian commander signs the surrender of his forces. British sovereignty is restored to the whole of the Falklands Isles.
14th July 1999
Great Britain and Argentina sign an agreement so as to reduce tensions linked to the Falklands conflict.
This agreement includes the following points:
- The Falkland Islands and Argentina must co-operate as far as fishing and the conservation of nature are concerned.
- The Argentinian government will no longer make reference to the Spanish names imposed by General Galtieri.
- Argentinian citizens will be able to enter the Falklands with a passport. Subject to the Falklands government’s authorisation.
- A memorial for the Argentinian victims will be built in the Falklands.
- The two governments will continue to study the modality and the cost of removing the mines left by the conflict (out of 26’000 mines positioned during the operations only 1’400 have been taken up).
- The flight between Santiago (Chile) and the Falklands will stop once a month in Argentina.
Text: © M.Chabod / F. Bettex • Photos: © Fabrice Bettex / Mysterra