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On Malvinas / Falkland Islands, Timerman Mocks Reuters, UNCA in Retreat

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 26, updated -- There were dueling press conferences on the Malvinas or Falkland Islands at the UN on Tuesday.

  Argentina's Foreign Minister Héctor Marcos Timerman told Inner City Press that the US State Department's William Burns wants a peaceful settlement; the UN's Secretary General Ban Ki-moon offers his good offices.

  Minutes later, UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant said there is no need for Ban's good offices.

   He recounted that Timerman turned down a meeting with his UK counterpart William Hague because Hague insisted that on this issue, the people living on the island must participate.

  Timerman said that forty percent of the residents were born in the UK. He mocked the UK, and Reuters, when Louis Charbonneau of that wire service asked if some of the residents hadn't been there longer than the Timerman family has been in Argentina.

  Timerman first said thanks for doing your research into the Timerman family, then asked, you did your research, right? As a journalist? Timerman directed several question back at Reuters, none of which were answered.

  This was capped off minutes later when Lyall Grant approvingly quoted the Reuters question, about some Falkland residents being there longer than most Argentinians have been in Argentina.

  That said, Lyall Grant responded to many of the points made by Timerman and the three other Latin ministers, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, on behalf of CELAC, Luis Almagro, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uruguay, of behalf of MERCOSUR and Jose Beraún, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Peru, on behalf of UNASUR.

(A wag said you could almost feel Hugo Chavez in the room, with these acronyms.)

  Lyall Grant distinguished Gibraltar, when Inner City Press asked about Timerman quoting Jack Straw about that Rock; he said Argentina never made a claim of sovereignty for Sandwich, for example, until the twentieth century.

  Neither side took questions beyond the islands: Timerman turned down two questions on Iran, Inner City Press held off from asking Lyall Grant about the delayed Darfur Presidential Statement, much less the Syria chemical weapons probe. They say no man is an island, but in this case the two press conferences were.

Footnote: Reuters' Charbonneau tried to get the first question, but it was asked by another who was handed the microphone first. He took the second question, and offered thanks on behalf of UNCA, now known as the UN's Censorship Alliance or now UN Cowardice Association, since its “leaders” operate anonymously, in comments and through fake social media accounts.

  Most recently, after ghoulishly taking photographs of the UN's non-consensual raid of Inner City Press' office on March 18, UNCA president Pamela Falk refuses to say why she took the photos, only issues legal threats to Inner City Press for raising the question.

  So Inner City Press thanked Timerman for the Free UN Coalition for Access, in Spanish. Then when Lyall Grant spoke, thanked by FUNCA, UNCA pulled back. Was it the striking similarity on questions, on the relative stay of Brits and Argentines? Watch this site.

Update: here's from UK Mission transcript:

Inn Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about Sandwich and Georgia. I’m sure you heard what he said. He seemed to be saying that these are depopulated or unpopulated and that this proves... the colonial... the overall argument is that they view it as sovereignty and territorial integrity and you’re trying to say it’s self determination. Is there some difference with Sandwich or Georgia islands and what do you make, it seems like it’s a philosophical clash on.. rubric... to view the conflict under it? If an island is empty, what’s the self-determination issue to it?
A: It’s true there’s no settled population on South Sandwich Islands and South Georgia as far as I’m aware and the history of the separate islands is a little bit different, but the sovereignty of the United Kingdom goes back to exactly the same time. The one difference you can do is that Argentina never claimed sovereignty over South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands until the 20th Century, so they were never focussed on that at all, so there is a difference in terms of the Argentinean claim, but in terms of British sovereignty, it covers all three territories.
Inner City Press: What about him quoting Jack Straw, did you hear that one? What did you think of that? He was quoting a former Minister as somehow saying that a referendum was too expensive and wouldn’t change anything. What did you think of his quote?
A: As I understand it, that quote is about the referendum in Gibraltar, which as I say, a very different situation.  

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