Argentina hopes the European Union (EU) will recognise the existence of its sovereignty dispute with the United Kingdom over the disputed Malvinas (Falkland) Islands, but without it becoming the only topic of dialogue with the bloc, a senior Argentine official has said.
"We hope that the EU will recognise the existence of a sovereignty dispute (...) and that the EU will encourage dialogue and negotiation," Mariano Carmona, the Argentine Foreign Ministry's secretary for Malvinas, Antarctica and the South Atlantic, told the AFP news agency in an interview in Brussels.
According to the official, "the international community (...) insists that sovereignty negotiations be re-established between Argentina and the United Kingdom."
However, Carmona added that Argentina intends to make it clear in its contacts that the dispute is not "the only agenda we have with the EU," although for the country the issue is "a foreign policy priority."
Carmona was in the Belgian capital for a series of meetings with MEPs and European Commission officials. At these meetings, he said, he promoted "scientific research programmes on oceanic and Antarctic matters," as well as studies on the impact of climate change and fisheries.
A 1965 United Nations resolution requires Argentina and the UK to enter into direct negotiations over the sovereignty of the islands, which has been disputed since 1833.
However, the United Kingdom has refused to open talks, saying it cannot start such negotiations because the population of the islands voted overwhelmingly in a referendum in 2013 in favour of retaining membership of the British crown.
London therefore argues that any talks must be approved by the inhabitants of the islands, an argument rejected by Buenos Aires.
In 1982, Argentina and the UK fought a short war over the Malvinas in which 649 Argentine soldiers, 255 British soldiers and three locals were killed. The conflict ended in victory for the British forces.
Recently, Argentina claimed, citing declassified documents, that British forces deployed 31 offensive nuclear devices during that conflict, a fact that has not been confirmed by Downing Street.
In the case of the EU, the agreements reached with the UK governing the post-Brexit trade relationship no longer apply to British overseas territories, including the Islands.
On Sunday, responding a statement from the Chinese government backing Argentina’s sovereignty claim, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss reaffirmed on Twitter that London rejects :completely rejects any questions over sovereignty of the Falklands.”
“The Falklands are part of the British family and we will defend their right to self determination,” she added. “China must respect the Falklands' sovereignty.”