Editorial: The use of the name Malvinas to insult the UK reflects underlying tensions over the Falkland Islands

News Letter editorial on Friday July 21 2023:
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​​Snubs from the European Union are going to be a fact of life for some years to come, in the aftermath of Brexit. Brussels leaders have wanted to show, for example, that top jobs like head of Nato will not go to political leaders from the UK, one of the alliance's key members.

Now the EU has used the provocative Argentine name for the Falkland Islands, 'Islas Malvinas' in a declaration signed by it and south American countries. The statement said that when it comes to sovereignty for the island, "dialogue and respect for international law" was important.

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While the EU said that its stance on sovereignty had not changed, the Argentine president Alberto Fernandez implied it was support for his country claim over the Falklands.

Last year was the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War after Argentina seized the islands.

It was an extraordinarily perilous operation for the UK, having to be conducted on the other side of the world. The sinking of HMS Sheffield with a French-supplied Exocet missile shows how the conflict could have ended in disaster for Britain. Loss against a fascist junta in a medium sized Latin American country would have been a humiliation, but worse it would have emboldened criminal regimes around the world, and specifically enemies of the UK, including the IRA.

America was not the friend it might have been at that dangerous time for Britain, but some influential figures in Washington were supportive.

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The Falklands has seemed largely settled since then, with the small inhabitant population almost universally pro British sovereignty. But countries or governments or political movements that wish the UK ill, for whatever varying reason, are always there and the status of those islands will, regrettably, most likely be a source of future tension.