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Argentina presses Falklands claim

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Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is pressing her country's claim to the Falkland Islands (AP Photo)

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is pressing her country's claim to the Falkland Islands (AP Photo)

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is pressing her country's claim to the Falkland Islands (AP Photo)

Argentina's president has taken her country's claim to the Falkland Islands to the United Nations, challenging Britain in a highly emotional speech to "act more intelligently" and sit down to talk about the future of the tiny archipelago.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner chose to appear at the annual meeting of the little-known UN Decolonisation Committee on the 30th anniversary of Britain's ousting of an Argentinian invasion force from the Falklands, using the occasion to reiterate Argentina's opposition to any more wars and to criticise the prime minister's decision to mark the day by flying the Falklands flag over his official 10 Downing Street residence.

"I felt shame from far away for them because wars are not to be celebrated or commemorated," she said, pointing to the hundreds of deaths in the 74-day conflict over the islands, which Argentina calls Las Malvinas.

While accusing Britain of abusing its power as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, lying about the islands' history and acting as "a bully", Ms Kirchner also said she came to the UN "without any rancour".

"We're not asking for much," she said in the first-ever appearance at the committee by a head of state. "We're just asking to talk. ... We're not asking anyone to say 'yes' the Malvinas are Argentina's."

Argentina claims Britain has illegally occupied the islands since 1833.

Britain disputes Argentina's claim saying it ignores the wishes of the island's 3,000 residents who have expressed a desire to remain British.

Britain has refused Argentina's repeated calls to negotiate the islands' sovereignty, saying it is up to the islanders to decide.

At the end of the meeting, the 24-member Decolonisation Committee adopted by consensus a similar resolution to the ones it has approved for many years calling on Britain and Argentina to negotiate.

After the 1982 war, the islands became a self-governing British overseas territory, with a directly elected legislative assembly that oversees the local government. Islanders still have British passports and benefit from a sizeable British defence force. While a visiting British governor still has veto power over local decisions, islanders say he has never used it.

PA