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UK Views on Somaliland & Falklands Queried by ICP, Grant Cites History, Denel

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 20 -- UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant held a press stakeout on June 20 to assert again that since people living in the Malvinas / Falkland Islands don't want to be part of Argentina, they shouldn't have to.

  Inner City Press asked Lyall Grant to contrast that position with the UK's on Somaliland. There, despite an expressed desire to be independent, the UK (and notably the former British Ambassador to Sudan, now UN envoy to Somalia Nicholas Kay) in essence tell Somaliland it should be part of Somalia.

  After saying "I don't want to make comparisons," Lyall Grant replied that "the main fact is this is not a question of territorial integrity, the Falkland Islands have never, ever in their history been part of Argentina." Video here from Minute 2:38.

  So, one wonders, it is Somaliland's briefing time with Somalia that makes its position different?

  Lyall Grant continued, "there is no question of restoring some sort territorial integrity, that never existed. The UK had sovereignty before Argentina even existed."

  Is the new Somali state a successor to the pre-1991 Somalia? What of the time before 1960?

  Lyall Grant concluded of the Falkland Islands, "Spain never contested that at the time." So the current rights of a people turn on other having contested, or not contested, long ago in the past? We'll have more on this.

Footnote: Inner City Press followed up on at the June 20 noon briefing on a question it asked Lyall Grant on June 19, and wrote about on June 19: the presence in the UN compound in Mogadishu of employees of the South Africa state owned arms manufacturer Denel, three of whom were killed in the attack on the compound.

  Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey said the employees were in de-mining. But the companies itself described them as "facilities manager" and "electrician." How to explain the UN insisting they were doing something, demining, that their employer does not mention? Watch this site.

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