Wednesday 21 December 2016

UK And Argentina Both Agrees To Identify Unknown Victims During Falkland War

Falkland War

Britain and Argentina appear to have made significant headway towards improving relations after reaching an agreement to identify the bodies of more than 100 unknown Argentinian soldiers buried on the Falklands Islands after the 1982 war.

The two countries also agreed to increase the number of flights between Argentina and the islands, which they claim as the Malvinas.

The 74-day war, which began when Argentina seized the islands and Britain sent a taskforce to retake them, saw 649 Argentinian and 255 British soldiers, as well as three Falkland islanders, lose their lives.

Under the agreement announced on Tuesday, the Red Cross will assemble a team of forensic experts, including two Argentinians, who will retrieve DNA samples from 123 unidentified Argentinian combatants buried at at Darwin Cemetery on East Falkland. The samples will then be compared against the samples taken from the volunteer Argentinian families. Work on identifying the remains will begin early next year, according to the Argentinian foreign ministry’s statement. The two governments also announced that talks are proceeding smoothly for the opening of extra flights between the South American mainland and the islands. FCO minister Sir Alan Duncan tweeted that Argentina and Britain had “agreed a way forward on new flights from Falkland Islands to Latin America”. Press reports in Argentina indicated that these could include a flight from São Paulo, Brazil, and Mount Pleasant airport near Port Stanley, the capital of the islands, stopping over at Argentina’s capital city, Buenos Aires.

The Argentinian foreign ministry said in its statement: “Both countries will negotiate with the air authorities in Brazil and Chile to determine what the stopovers will be.”

At the moment a twice-weekly flight is operated by the British ministry of defence from the United Kingdom to the Falklands, as well as a weekly flight from Punta Arenas in Chile that makes a monthly stopover at Rio Gallegos in Argentina.

Relations between London and Buenos Aires have improved significantly since Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri, took office a year ago. Macri abandoned the confrontative attitude of former president Cristina Kirchner, who restricted hydrocarbon exploration in the area around the islands and at one point barred sea cruisers bound for the Falklands from docking at Argentinian ports.

The agreement was signed in London by Sir Alan Duncan, minister for Europe and the Americas at the Foreign Office, and Argentinian foreign deputy minister Pedro Villagra Delgado. The signing was attended by Falkland Islands officials.



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