Feb 1 2013
Argentina's foreign minister has turned down the offer of talks with William Hague over the future of the Falklands, after the Foreign Secretary insisted that islanders should also be present.
Representatives of the Falkland Islands government were flying to London this weekend to tell Hector Timerman that Buenos Aires should respect islanders' rights and leave them in peace.
But Mr Timerman, who had initially asked for a one-to-one meeting with the Foreign Secretary, said he would not accept the offer of a meeting involving the Port Stanley government, which Argentina does not recognise as legitimate.
The United Nations regards the dispute over the islands which Argentina knows as the Malvinas as a bilateral issue between Buenos Aires and London, he said.
And he said he was sorry that Mr Hague "can't meet without the supervision of the colonists from the Malvinas".
Mr Timerman invited Mr Hague to meet with him in Buenos Aires, where he said "my fellow foreign ministers can freely meet with whomever they wish without being pressured or having their presence conditioned on meetings that they haven't asked for and don't interest them".
Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has in recent years strongly asserted her country's demands for the Falklands to come under its sovereignty despite the opposition of the islanders.
Earlier this month, she had an advert published in British newspapers claiming that Argentina had been stripped of the islands in "a blatant exercise of 19th century colonialism".
Prime Minister David Cameron has repeatedly insisted the residents of the Falklands must decide their own future and a referendum on the islands' political status is to be held in March.
In a statement released before Mr Timerman turned down the meeting, the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands stressed that their representatives, Dick Sawle and Jan Cheek, would not be "negotiating any deal". The assembly said: "Rather we are anticipating a full and frank exchange of views. Indeed we look forward to giving Mr Timerman some very direct messages on the unacceptability of Argentina's actions against the Falkland Islands in recent years."