Humala Sends Letter To Argentina’s Fernandez In Support Of Falklands

President Ollanta Humala sent a letter to his Argentine counterpart, President Cristina Fernandez, to provide support for her country’s efforts to regain control of the Falkland Islands, newspaper El Comercio reported.

“I have the honor to write to your excellency to express the solidarity and support of the people and government of Peru for Argentina’s legitimate rights of sovereignty over the Islas Malvinas,” Humala wrote in the letter, according to El Comercio.

Britain, which explored and established settlements on the islands from the mid-17th century —as did the French and the Dutch— regained and controlled sovereignty over the islands since the mid-19th century, although Argentina has always considered them —the Islas Malvinas, from the French malouins— part of its territory.

In 1982, Argentina invaded the South Atlantic islands, which provoked a 74-day war with the UK that resulted in Britain regaining control of the islands. Casualties included 250 British soldiers and 650 Argentine soldiers dead, and the sinking of the HMS Sheffield and the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano.  Both nations restored relations in 1989 but the agreement left the sovereignty dispute aside.

In recent weeks, Argentina’s Foreign Affairs minister, Hector Timerman, filed a complaint with the United Nations that the UK is militarizing the South Atlantic, with its newest destroyer, the HMS Dauntless, and nuclear submarines.  Britain has denied such operations and claims that its ships are in international waters. 

Former high-level officials in Peru’s government have said it would be unlikely that Peru would back Argentina militarily if there was renewed conflict, and President Humala’s letter would confirm this position.   In mid-January, the Mercosur trade block —including Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay— backed Argentina’s claims by blocking entry of ships flying the Falklands flag. 

“My government,” continued Humala in his letter, “backs Argentina’s aspirations to reach a peaceful understanding with the United Kingdom, through dialogue and negotiation.”

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