President Alberto Fernández reiterated Argentina's claim to the disputed Malvinas (Falkland) Islands on Tuesday, in his first address to the United Nations General Assembly since taking office.
The Peronist leader expressed the "legitimate and imprescriptible rights of Argentine sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and surrounding maritime areas," referencing British overseas territories.
The Malvinas sovereignty dispute led to a 1982 war between Argentina and Britain lasting 74 days and costing almost 1,000 dead (649 on the Argentine side, 255 on the British).
The head of state's address was broadcast in the main hall of UN's New York headquarters. It was the first time he had participated in an event hosted by the United Nations since assuming the Presidency last December.
In his pre-recorded speech, Fernández also expressed support for multilateralism and went on to challenge world leaders to use the health crisis as a moment of inflection to find solutions for other scourges as well.
He said the world needs to “be capable of dreaming and creating a vaccine against social injustice, environmental destruction and discrimination.”
The Frente de Todos leader also urged leaders to treat an eventual Covid-19 vaccine as a global public good accessible equitably to all countries.
Fernández said the planet is facing an “historic opportunity” to unite and that international cooperation “like we once knew how to do” is the only path forward.
His call echoes that of other Latin American leaders pressing for more solidarity among nations that have largely faced the pandemic on their own.
Argentina ranks 10th worldwide in the total number of Covid-19 cases. Some 650,000 have been diagnosed, and nearly 14,000 have died.
Fernández also warned of the impact of the coroanvirus pandemic on the world's poorest citizens. "From the pandemic, as from poverty, no-one is saved on their own," he said, adding that the pandemic had "recreated the need to build bridges between people and nations."
He also alluded to "the toxic and speculative external indebtedness" of the countries that he said "constitutes another wave of backwardness and development."
Argentina has just sealed a debt swap deal for US$66-billion with private creditors and is just starting talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a new financing programme. The country owes the Fund US$44 billion.
Fernández also warned that "the post-pandemic world could exacerbate the serious crisis of refugees and displaced people facing the planet."
"As never before, the human condition demands solidarity from us all. We cannot remain passive in the face of sanctions that represent economic blockades that only suffocate the peoples in the midst of this humanitarian crisis," he said.