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Kirchner Calls Brits Hypocrites, UK Appears with Sheep Farmer, No Man Island

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 14, updated twice -- When Argentina's President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner took the floor in Conference Room 4 of the UN's North Lawn building Thursday afternoon, the crowd was Latin heavy and ready to applaud. The topic was the Islas Malvinas a/k/a the Falkland Islands and Kirchner was in fine form.

  She read from what she said was a "non-paper" or secret negotiating document from 1974. She accused the UK of hypocrisy, refusing dialogue about the Islands while claiming commitment to human rights.

  Her speech moved from Angela Merkel to Hiroshima; she asked how the US would like seeing its flag under that of Japan. When she finished there was a long applause, and she shook hands with, among others, Syria's Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari.

  Later up on the North Lawn building's second floor stakeout, Inner City Press asked UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant about the "non-paper," and more specifically for his response to a theory that with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon naming Argentines as chief of staff (Susana Malcorra) and head of Middle East (Oscar Fernandez Taranco), the UK has been losing traction.

  Lyall Grant said it is hard to respond to a 1974 document, but that the failed talks then showed that the Argentines wants to go over the heads of the residents and get the Islands returned to Argentina.

  He said that all UN officials are international civil servants. Inner City Press asked about consistent and well-sourced reports, which Inner City Press first exclusively published, that the Argentines have been conferring with "their" Assistant Secretary General Oscar Fernandez Taranco. Lyall Grant said, you'll have to ask them. We will.

Afterward Inner City Press spoke with a sixth generation Falksland Islander, James Marsh, before he went on the show "Five Live." He said he's raising 15,000 sheep, and that Islanders go to Chile for medical care.

  Inner City Press asked him, hablas espanol? He said, in English, enough to go to restaurants. Vaya.

Footnote: Downstairs Syrian Permanent Representative Ja'afari was responding to questions about no fly zones and humanitarian corridors, and a question about his daughter that he called unethical and unfair. He said that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are arming the opposition.

When Inner City Press looks into and writes about this, it gets accused of drinking "Ja'afari juice." But where do the weapons come from? Watch this site.

Update of 8:45 pm; 10 am June 15 -- the UK mission sent this out in parts:

Inner City Press: In her speech the president of Argentina read what she called a non paper or a secret document, she said it was a negotiation document, so I wanted to know, what did you think of that. Is it an authentic document and what your response to it is? And for Ambassador Lyall Grant, this is sort of a UN question. Some have said, and you may reject this, that now that the Secretary-General has appointed and Argentine National as his Chief of Staff. You have Oscar Fernandez-Taranco of Argentina as a major player in the Department of Political Affairs, that somehow Argentina is getting more traction on this issue in the UN. I wanted to know whether, you’re here, and you would know, is there anything to that?

Mike Summers OBE, Member of the Falkland Island Legislative Assembly: I think it’s better that the Ambassador answers the question about a document that allegedly came from the British government in 1974.

Mark Lyall Grant – Thank you. I can’t comment in detail on that document that was read out by President Kirchner this afternoon, but what I can say is that the exploratory discussions that were held in the 1970s, between the United Kingdom and Argentina only reinforced the view that their options that were being discussed were not compatible with the principle of self-determination. And they were not therefore pursued. Of course much changed also when Argentina illegally invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982. On the second question, no. I don’t want to comment on individual nationality of senior UN officials. All UN officials are officials of the United Nations and their loyalty is to the United Nations, not to the country of origin, so I don’t think that that is relevant to this discussion.

Q - (indistinct) gave the briefing with various video presentations in the Dag Hammarskjold Library. I’m asking only because I actually heard that here were some interplay with their visiting delegation and an Argentine DPA staff member.

Mark Lyall Grant – You’d have to ask them that. I’m not aware of that....

Inner City Press: The President of Argentina said in a, I took it as a kind of a mocking voice, she said, if a country won’t even engage in dialogue than how can it claim to be for human rights and then she listed a few other, sort of, grand principles of the UN. Do you just see that as rhetoric or is this something you take to heart, that this is somehow inconsistent with what the UK does in all the other things you’re talking about, whether it’s Syria, Libya, and other things. Is there some inconsistency, or is she just trying to stir something up with that?

Mark Lyall Grant – I think it is just largely rhetoric. We have made clear that we are very willing to talk to the Argentineans over a wide range of issues. What we are not prepared to do is sit down and negotiate sovereignty over the head of the people of the Falklands Islands, because as you’ve heard today the principle of self determination is absolutely at the heart of our position on the Falkland Islands and frankly it is a little bit hypocritical of the President to be talking about the United Kingdom refusing dialogue when she has refused to listen directly to the views of the Representatives of the Falkland Islands. She wasn’t in the room when they made their statements and I don’t think she received the letter that was handed over by them, but Mike, you may want to add to that?

Mike Summers OBE:: Sorry Ambassador. She was in the room when we made our statement so she did hear that. She didn’t respond to any of them. We did attempt to hand a letter to the President today following on from statements made by Ambassador Timmerman in the last week, saying that he was prepared to sit down and listen. We sent a letter to the government of Argentina from the government of the Falkland Islands suggesting that sitting down an listening would be a very good thing to do an d we would be very happy to engage in that so I think there’s a certain amount of dual standards here. The President of Argentina only really want to get herself engaged in negotiations that involve the transfer of sovereignty. What she really doesn’t want to do is get involved in negotiations with the people of the Falkland Islands.

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