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Argentines hail govt for scrapping Foradori-Duncan pact on Falkland Islands

Argentines have welcomed their government’s decision to walk away from a controversial pact with the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands that they say were illegally taken from Argentina some 190 years ago.

On Thursday, Argentina said it was withdrawing from the accord and demanded new talks with London to renegotiate the sovereignty of the South Atlantic archipelago.

“Finally! Better late than never..,” said ex-congresswoman Fernanda Vallejos.

“The government [has] put an end to the Foradori-Duncan pact, signed during the government of Mauricio Macri, by which Argentina was subjected to hand over the operation of natural resources in the Malvinas to the United Kingdom,” said Vallejos, using the Spanish term for the islands used throughout Argentina.

Activist Juan Grabois described the news as “good”, alleging the former foreign minister had signed the pact when “drunk one morning in 2016.”

The pact was concluded following the talks between then Argentine deputy foreign minister Carlos Foradori and his British counterpart Alan Duncan.

Argentina says the Falklands were illegally taken from it in 1833 and sent troops to the British overseas colony in 1982. London dispatched military and Buenos Aires lost the two-month war for the archipelago in a conflict that claimed the lives of 649 Argentines and 255 British soldiers.

Argentina claims the islands. London says the Falklands are a self-governing entity under its protection. The islands are located in the South Atlantic about 600 kilometres from the Argentinian mainland and some 12, 985 kilometres from UK.

A 2013 referendum on the islands resulted in a 99.8 percent vote to remain British.

In 2016, the two sides signed Foradori-Duncan pact, a non-binding statement in which both sides agreed to disagree about sovereignty, but to cooperate on issues such as energy, shipping and fishing, and on identifying the remains of unknown Argentine soldiers killed in battle.

At the G20 summit in India on Thursday, Argentinian Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero informed his UK counterpart James Cleverly that his government was abandoning the pact, irking London with Cleverly emphasising that “Falkland Islands are British.”

READ MORE: Argentina withdraws from Falkland Islands pact with UK

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Ernesto Alonso, secretary of Human Rights of the CECIM Center for Ex-Combatants of La Plata tweeted: “No more Foradori-Duncan!!!! A Sovereign decision !!!”.

“Argentina needs to guarantee development in the South Atlantic, charting a path that consolidates the definitive recovery of the territories usurped by the UK,” Alonso said.

The controversial pact caused a massive ruckus after a memoir of the British diplomat last year claimed the Argentine diplomat was “drunk” when the pact was signed — claims Foradori has dismissed.

The left-leaning Pagina12 newspaper in Argentina defended the government’s latest move and cited the ex- British diplomat’s claim that Foradori “was completely drunk when he signed that agreement.”

Argentina has said its latest action “complies with the mandate of the UN General Assembly and the United Nations Committee on Decolonisation,” adding Buenos Aires is honouring President Alberto Fernandez’s commitment to “sustain” the issue of the Malvinas [Falklands] “as a state policy.”

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