By Daniel Toft, Communications Assistant
Santiago Cafiero, the Argentine Minister for Foreign Affairs, has notified UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly that Argentina will withdraw from the Foradori-Duncan Pact of 2016. Gathered at the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Summit in New Dehli, the ministers met and discussed the pact. Following their withdrawal, Argentina requested further talks between the governments at the UN on the issue of sovereignty.
Agreed by Sir Alan Duncan, former Minister of State for Europe and the Americas, the pact regulated shipping and fishing around the islands and the extraction of oil and gas, as well as setting up a process to identify who had died on the islands during the Falklands War. The agreement was set, at the time, in the context of improving UK-Argentine relations under the governments of Theresa May and Mauricio Macri respectively, with Argentina promising a less confrontational stance on the issue whilst maintaining their claim over the islands.
Following the announcement, the Falkland Islands Government issued a press release, which stated: “We are saddened that all the hard work we have done since 2016 will be yet another example of Argentina not being adult enough to speak to our country on issues that will also support their development and are of regional and global importance”. Their full statement can be found here. In London, the Foreign Secretary issued a statement reaffirming the islanders’ right to self-determination, and the Director General for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean summoned the Argentine Ambassador.
Domestic issues within Argentina may be the motive behind their withdrawal. The Argentine public will head to the polls in late October 2023 with President Alberto Fernández eligible for a second term, but with inflation at the highest level since 1991, the peso down almost half against the dollar since March 2021, and the cost of commodities increasing dramatically, the economic outlook for Argentina is far from ideal. The sovereignty issue surrounding the Falklands has consistently been a good way of Argentine leaders rallying the people and averting their attention away from domestic problems.
Ultimately, despite the withdrawal, the position of the United Kingdom remains clear: the islands are British, and will remain so unless the Islanders decide otherwise.