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Gonsalves clarifies position on Falkland Islands

Gonsalves clarifies position on  Falkland Islands

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There is no conflict of opinion between St Vincent and the Grenadines and the other CARICOM member states in the issue relating to the Falkland Islands.{{more}}

That is the position of Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves as he responded to a question posed by Dr Godwin Friday, Member of Parliament for the Northern Grenadines, at Tuesday’s meeting of the House.

Friday asked the prime minister to clarify the government’s position in relation to the Falkland Islands dispute.

According to Gonsalves, the initial position adopted by CARICOM member states was the very position taken at the United Nations (UN) and Organization of American States (OAS) which was that Britain and Argentina needed to negotiate and discuss all the issues at hand.

A similar position was taken at the inaugural meeting of Latin American and Caribbean countries, known as CELAC in Venezuela.

According to the prime minister, the region came up with a position, but did not take any sides, although the language contained in the resolution coming out of the CELAC forum appeared to favour Argentina.

However Britain indicated that it was prepared to enter in discussions with Argentina on all issues, except the issue of sovereignty.

Prior to the Falkland Islands war in 1982, a member of the Margaret Thatcher administration suggested that there be a lease back arrangement, but Gonsalves explained that there was a dictatorship in Argentina at the time and following the war where Argentina was defeated, the British have indicated that they will discuss everything but the issue of sovereignty.

The issue has become more prominent now, according to the prime minister, with the discovery of natural gas and oil in the waters around the Falkland Islands.

It was during the summit between CARICOM member states and the United Kingdom held in Grenada that a pro-British statement was made the prime minister explained.

“It is difficult to reconcile that statement with the statement that CARICOM Heads of State signed on to before,” Gonsalves contended.

This position was also put forward by the Guyanese Foreign Minister who also realized that the position taken subsequent to the CELAC meeting was not the initial position taken by the group the prime minister said.

“That does not reflect well on CARICOM,” he said, because the position in Grenada and the position elsewhere is inconsistent. (DD)

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