- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 1, 2012

FALKLANDS CALAMARI

The new ambassador from Argentina, who arrived in Washington last week, has been using diplomacy to refight the Falklands War, a conflict over a group of islands off the coast of the South American nation that his country lost to Britain 30 year ago.

Jorge Arguello last year carried Argentina’s relentless claim to the islands to several international forums in his former position as Argentina’s ambassador to the United Nations.

He accused Britain of military occupation of the islands, complained that London violated Argentina’s fishing and oil-drilling rights, and even attacked the famous Falklands calamari.

In September, Mr. Arguello told China’s International Studies Foundation that the 3,000 residents of the Falklands are under military occupation. The Royal Air Force maintains a base with about 1,500 troops on the islands.

A month later, Mr. Arguello was in South Africa, where he complained to students at the University of Cape Town that Britain was stealing Argentine fish and drilling in areas claimed by his government.

He even warned them about squid.

“So now that you know what is behind a Falklands calamari dish, think twice before ordering it,” he said, according to a report from the MercoPress, a South Atlantic news agency.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez Kirchner last year called Britain a “crude colonial power in decline” and recently gained the support of Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay to ban shipping from the Falklands.

Last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron sent the Falklands islanders a New Year’s message in which he pledged to “never negotiate” away their sovereignty to Argentina.

“Your right to self-determination is the cornerstone of our policy,” he said.

Argentina, which calls the islands the Malvinas, has claimed the islands since the early 1800s, but about 70 percent of the residents are of British descent and want to remain part of the British Commonwealth.

Under a former military junta, Argentina invaded the Falklands in April 1982. Britain sent troops to the islands and expelled the invaders after a 74-day war.

Before his tour as Argentina’s U.N. ambassador, Mr. Arguello was a member of the Argentine legislature, where he served as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and of the Parliamentary Observatory on the Malvinas Islands.

‘IMPORTANT OPENING’

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