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Falkland Islands: Security council



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_ / MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS NoM61 Date 2 May 1982

FALKLAND ISLANDS:

NEWS RELEASE THE HON. TONY STREET, M.P.

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SECURITY COUNCIL

F o l l o w i n g i s t h e t e x t of t h e s t a t e m e n t made by t he

M i n i s t e r f o r F o r e i g n A f f a i r s / t h e Hon. Tony S t r e e t M . P . / i n

t h e d e b a t e on t he F a l k l a nds d i s p u t e i n t h e Unii ted N a t i o n s

S e c u r i t y C o u n c i l i n New York on 22 May A u s t r a l i a n Ti me:

"MY DELEGATION HAS REQUESTED PERMISSION TO SPEAK IN THE LIGHT OF THE GRAVE TURN OF EVENTS IN THE FALKLANDS C R I S I S . WE THANK YOU/ MR PRESIDENT/ FOR ALLOWING US TO DO SO.

I T I S APPROPRIATE THAT THE ISSUE SHOULD AGAIN BE BEFORE THE SECURITY COUNCIL. THE SI TUATI ON OF ARMED CONFLICT WHICH HAS ERUPTED IN THE SOUTH ATLANTIC THREATENS TO DEVELOP INTO A MAJOR CONFLAGRATION. THERE HAS ALREADY BEEN A TRAGIC LOSS OF LI FE ON BOTH SI DES. NEW CLASHES OVER THE LAST 24 HOURS

CARRY THE DANGER OF MUCH GREATER LOSSES BOTH OF MEN AND MATERIAL.

ALL OF WHICH POINT TO THE NECESSITY OF REACHING AN ACCEPTABLE POLI TI CAL SETTLEMENT. THE PRESENT AND THREATENED SCALE OF THE CONFLICT DEMONSTRATES STARKLY THE DANGERS OF ALLOWING THE SI TUATI ON TO DETERIORATE. .

’ BUT/ S I R / I T I S NECESSARY TO KEEP IN MIND THE ORIGINS

OF THE PRESENT CONFLICT. I T WAS ARGENTINA'S INVASION OF THE FALKLAND I SLANDS/ IN DEFIANCE OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL CALL ON 1 APRIL THAT FORCE NOT BE USED, THAT I S THE CAUSE OF THE CURRENT

BREACH OF PEACE IN THE REGION. AND I T HAS BEEN ARGENTINA'S REFUSAL TO HEED THE MANDATORY CALL OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL ON 3 APRIL FOR WITHDRAWAL OF I TS OCCUPYING FORCES WHICH HAS SUSTAINED THE CONTINUED C R I S I S .

BY INVADING THESE I SLANDS, AND THEN SPURNING EVERY CALL FOR WITHDRAWAL, ARGENTINA HAS BEEN THE AUTHOR OF I TS OWN MISFORTUNES. I T I S NOT BRI TI SH OBSTINACY BUT ARGENTINE RECKLESSNESS THAT ACCOUNTS FOR THE PRESENT WIDENING CONFLICT. THE ARGENTINE GOVERNMENT, WHILE I T I S BOUND BY TREATIES OF THE UNITED NATIONS AND - LET US NOT FORGET - THE OAS, NOT TO USE FORCE OR THREAT OF FORCE TO SETTLE TERRITORIAL DI SPUTES, REPUDIATED THOSE PRINCI PLES IN I TS GRAB FOR THE ISLANDS

IN EARLY APRI L. I T HAS SINCE HOPED TO BE REWARDED WITH A PROMISE OF PERMANENT SOVEREIGNTY. THE BRI TI SH GOVERNMENT HAS CONSISTENTLY, AND UNDERSTANDABLY, REJECTED SUCH AN APPROACH.

BRI TAI N HAS TAKEN A POSI TI ON BASED ON PRI NCI PLE. THE FALKLANDS MAY SEEM REMOTE FROM THE INTERESTS AND CONCERNS OF MANY COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD. BUT WHAT I S AT ISSUE I S NOT REMOTE. I F THE USE OF FORCE I S ALLOWED TO GO UNCHECKED IN ONE AREA I T I NVI TES SIMI LAR TECHNIQUES IN OTHER AREAS. SOUTH AMERICA AND CENTRAL AMERICA IN PARTICULAR ARE LITTERED WITH TERRI TORI AL DI SPUTES. I F ONE COUNTRY SUCCEEDS I N ACQUIRING TERRITORY BY INVASION WHAT MORAL

IS TO BE DRAWN? THE TRAGIC EXAMPLE OF THE 1 9 3 0 ' S COMES TO MIND. THAT IS WHERE THE ROAD LEADS . I T HAS NOT GONE UNNOTICED BY THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT THAT AMONG THE MANY INTERNATIONAL REACTIONS WHICH FOLLOWED THE ARGENTINE INVASION CONCERN WAS EXPRESSED

PARTICULARLY BY MANY OF THE SMALLER STATES AROUND THE WORLD.

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THE MORAL THEY DREW WAS MUCH THE SAME: AGGRESSION CAN BE CURBED ONLY IF AGGRESSSION IS RESISTED„

SO MUCH FOR THE FACTS IN THIS DISPUTE. AUSTRALIA IS RETICENT ABOUT ALLOWING ITSELF TO BE DRAGGED INTO SOME OF THE TECHNICALITIES WHICH ARGENTINA HAS INVOKED IN AN ATTEMPT TO JUSTIFY ITS ACTIONS. THESE ARGUMENTS/ OFTEN RESTING ON ESOTERIC

INTERPRETATIONS OF THE CHARTER AND OF EARLIER UNITED NATIONS RESOLUTIONS ONLY CLOUD THE REAL ISSUE.

NEVERTHELESS/ A FEW OBSERVATIONS MAY BE IN ORDER.

FIRST/ ARGENTINA HAS INVITED ATTENTION TO PARAGRAPH 1 OF RESOLUTION 502 TO ACCUSE THE UNITED KINGDOM OF ITSELF ENGAGING IN HOSTILE ACTION. IN OUR VIEW THIS IS A PERVERTED READING OF THE RESOLUTION. THE PRESENT STATE OF ARMED CONFLICT IN THE AREA WAS THE RESULT OF ARGENTINA'S SEIZURE OF THE FALKLANDS/ AND IT WAS TO THIS POINT THAT THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF 502 WAS DIRECTED.

ARGENTINA HAS ALSO INVOKED ITS CLAIMS TO SOVEREIGNTY TO RATIONALISE ITS ACTIONS. IT IS NOT MY PURPOSE AT THIS CRITICAL JUNCTURE TO PROBE THESE CLAIMS. BUT IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT THE FALKLANDS ARE NOT SELF-EVIDENTLY PART OF ARGENTINA. NOR CAN THE ARGENTINE CLAIM BE BASED ON COMMON ETHNIC T I E S / A CRITICAL POINT,

c I NC E THE WISHES OF THE ISLANDERS MUST BE REGARDED AS AN INTEGRAL ELEMENT IN ANY LONG-TERM SETTLEMENT.

THIS IN FACT IS THE CRUX OF THE POLITICAL PROBLEM. ARGENTINA HAS SAID THAT IT ACCEPTS RESOLUTION 502. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, AND IN THE SAME BREATH, I T HAS BEEN INSISTENT ON LOADED ARRANGEMENTS IN THE FALKLANDS WHICH, IF ACCEPTED, WOULD

INEVITABLY LEAD TO CONCEDING ITS DEMAND OF SOVEREIGNTY. THAT, OF COURSE, IGNORES THE RIGHTS OF THE FALKLANDERS AND THEREIN LIES THE PROBLEM IN GETTING TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE.

AS THE UNITED KINGDOM DELEGATION HAS NOTED, THE INHABITANTS OF THE FALKLAND ISLANDS CONSTITUTE A PERMANENT POPULATION WITH ROOTS IN MANY CASES STRETCHING BACK TO THE EARLY PART OF THE LAST CENTURY. THE FACT THAT THERE IS ONLY A SMALL NUMBER OF THEM DOES NOT DIMINISH THE IMPORTANCE THEY ATTACH TO CHOOSING THE KIND OF LIFE THEY WANT AND THE KIND OF GOVERNMENT THEY WANT. THEY MUST ENJOY THE SAME

RIGHTS OF CONSULTATION AS ANY OTHER PEOPLES, INCLUDING THOSE WHO INHABIT OTHER SMALL ISLANDS AND TERRITORIES. THERE IS AN OBLIGATION SHARED NOT ONLY BY THE UNITED KINGDOM AND ARGENTINA BUT THE INTER­ NATIONAL COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE.

IN SHORT, WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS NO SIMPLE WRANGLE OVER COLONIALISM, AS SOME WOULD HAVE US BELIEVE. INDEED, IF ARGENTINA'S AGGRESSION WERE ALLOWED TO PERSIST, I T WOULD ITSELF AMOUNT TO COLONIALISM., THE FACT IS THAT THE ISLANDERS HAVE NOT SHOWN ANY EVIDENT DESIRE TO CHANGE THE ESSENTIALLY BRITISH ADMINISTRATION IN WHICH THEY HAVE BEEN ABLE TO TAKE PART THROUGH THEIR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES. IN FREE AND FAIR ELECTION, THE MOST RECENT IN OCTOBER 1 98 1, THEY HAVE SHOWN A PREFERENCE FOR THE STATUS QUO.

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BUT EVEN I F THE FACTS WERE OTHERWISE, EVEN I F ITS CLAIMS WERE WELL FOUNDED, ARGENTINA WOULD STILL HAVE NO WARRANT FOR ITS USE OF FORCE TO TRY TO ESTABLISH BY COUP DE MAIN WHAT I T HAD NOT SUCCEEDED IN OBTAINING AT THE CONFERENCE TABLE„ ON THE CONTRARY,

ARGENTINA'S INVASION OF THE ISLANDS WAS IN CLEAR VIOLATION OF ARTICLES 2 . 3 AND 2 . 4 OF THE CHARTER WHICH LAY DOWN THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES AND NON-USE OF FORCE.

I F THE UNITED KINGDOM HAS ALSO BEEN MOVED TO MILITARY ACTION, I T IS A NATURAL CONSEQUENCE OF ARGENTINA'S OWN UNPROVOKED RESORT TO FORCE AND FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE DEMANDS OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL TO WITHDRAW ITS FORCES. IN MOVING TO RECOVER

I TS TERRITORY, THE UNITED KINGDOM WAS ACTING LEGITIMATELY UNDER ARTICLE 51 OF THE CHARTER IN PURSUIT OF ITS INHERENT RIGHT OF SELF-DEFENCE.

I T WOULD OF COURSE HAVE BEEN EVERYONE'S HOPE THAT THE SITUATION HAD NEVER REACHED THE POINT OF MILITARY CONFLICT. AUSTRALIA SUPPORTED THE SUCCESSIVE EFFORTS, FIRST BY THE UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE, THEN BY MR HAIG I N ' CONJUNCTION WITH PRESIDENT BELAUNDE TERRY OF PERU, AND FINALLY BY THE SECRETARY- GENERAL, TO ACHIEVE A PEACEFUL SOLUTION. THAT THEY HAVE NOT SUCCEEDED HAS NOT BEEN THEIR FAULT. FOR MORE THAN SIX WEEKS THEIR MEDIATION EFFORTS HAVE BEEN CONTINUING. TO NO AVAI L.

ARGENTINA WOULD NOT WITHDRAW ITS FORCES EXCEPT UNDER ARRANGEMENTS AND CONDITIONS WHICH WOULD HAVE REWARDED ITS UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR

WE MUST NEVERTHELESS CONTINUE TO HOPE, MR PRESIDENT, THAT THERE WILL BE A RETURN TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE. THE SECRETARY- GENERAL'S INTERVENTION, AND THAT OF OTHER WELL-DISPOSED COUNTRIES LIKE THE UNITED STATES AND PERU, MAY STILL OFFER PROSPECTS FOR A RETURN TO REASON.

THE FRAMEWORK FOR REACHING A JUST SETTLEMENT IS LAID OUT IN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 5 0 2 . THE BASIC POINT IS THAT, SINCE I T WAS THE ARGENTINE INVASION WHICH STARTED THE PRESENT C R I S I S , I T MUST BE AN ARGENTINE WITHDRAWAL THAT PUTS AN END OT I T ,

TIME HAS ALMOST RUN OUT IN THE SOUTH ATLANTIC. BUT I T STI LL MAY NOT BE TOO LATE. I F SOME USEFUL ACTION CAN BE TAKEN IN THE UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK, OBVIOUSLY THIS SHOULD BE DONE. TO THE EXTENT THAT OTHERS HAVE A CAPACITY TO BRING ABOUT A MEETING OF MINDS, THESE EFFORTS TOO NEED TO BE PURSUED. I T IS NEVERTHELESS THE FIRMLY HELD VIEW OF THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT THAT THE ONUS

RESTS FIRST AND FOREMOST ON THE GOVERNMENT OF ARGENTINA. I T IS THOSE IN AUTHORITY IN BUENOS AIRES TO WHOM THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY MUST LOOK TO AVERT A DEEPENING TRAGEDY."