Falklands politicians report positive London talks on South Atlantic and UK/Argentine issues

MLAs Mike Summers (pictured) and Phyl Rendell have taken part in two days of discussions in London, led for Her Majesty’s Government by Sir Alan Duncan, FCO Minister for Europe and the Americas, and Deputy Minister Pedro Villagra Delgado for the Government of Argentina.

A statement from the Falkland Islands Government noted: "There was a very positive exchange on UK/GoA issues, covering progress since the Joint Statement of 13 September and areas for future cooperation on a wide range of bilateral and international issues including trade, scientific cooperation and human rights.
"There was also a constructive dialogue on South Atlantic issues. A process has been agreed for setting up an additional air service to the Falkland Islands from either Brazil or Chile, with a target launch date of October 2017, based on commercial viability. This would include a stopover in Argentina along the lines of the current monthly LAN stopover in Rio Gallegos, though no location has been agreed to at this early stage.
"They also agreed on the importance of data exchange in relation to fish stocks in the South Atlantic, most particularly on the migratory illex stock. The parties are optimistic this can be put in place to cover the 2017 illex season. It was also agreed that further discussions should be held to see if there is a need to re-establish the South Atlantic Fisheries Commission, and whether the parties can start a process leading to a regional fisheries management agreement for the Southwest Atlantic. 
"At the conclusion of the talks, the Ministers signed the mandate and project details agreed in Geneva on 9 December, enabling the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to carry out the identification of Argentine soldiers buried in Darwin cemetery on the Falkland Islands. The ICRC will visit again in January to further planning arrangements."