THE Governments of the United Kingdom and Argentina released a joint statement on Tuesday night on future cooperation which also set out a commitment to work together on issues affecting the South Atlantic and the Falkland Islands.
In what was described as “a positive spirit,” both sides agreed to set up a dialogue to improve cooperation on South Atlantic issues of mutual interest. Both Governments agreed that the formula on sovereignty in paragraph 2 of the Joint Statement of 19 October 1989 applies to this Communique and to its consequences. In this context it was agreed to take the appropriate measures to remove all obstacles limiting the economic growth and sustainable development of the Falkland Islands, including in trade, fishing, shipping and hydrocarbons. Both parties emphasised the benefits of cooperation and positive engagement for all concerned.
In accordance with the principles set out in the 1999 Joint Statement and Exchange of Letters, both sides agreed that further air links between the Falkland Islands and third countries would be established. In this context they agreed the establishment of two additional stops per month in mainland Argentina, one in each direction. The specific details will be defined.
Both delegations expressed their full support for a DNA identification process in respect of unknown Argentine soldiers buried in the Darwin cemetery. Discussions on this sensitive humanitarian issue will be taken forward in Geneva on the basis of an ICRC assessment supplemented by bilateral discussions as required. Both sides agreed that the wishes of the families concerned were paramount.
Both sides agreed to establish a date for a fuller meeting as soon as possible.
The Falkland Islands Government (FIG) welcomed the agreement by the Argentine Government to remove all obstacles limiting the economic growth and development of the Falkland Islands.
It was noted in the statement: “We look forward to removal of sanctions on hydrocarbons, fisheries, shipping and tourism. We look forward to seeing tangible signs of improvement in these areas.
“FIG has been exploring the possibility of additional flights to the Falklands from a third country in South America for some time. An agreement to progress this commercial venture is helpful. As stated in the joint communique, the principles of such flights were agreed in the 1999 Agreement. Any future stopover in Argentina will operate in the same way as the current LATAM flight from Santiago.
“FIG has agreed on humanitarian grounds to facilitate a programme led by the ICRC to identify the unknown Argentine soldiers buried at Darwin cemetery. We agree that the wishes of the families of all those buried there is paramount.
“FIG will be represented at any future discussions on the above matters. Sovereignty of the Falkland Islands will not be part of these discussions.”