UK and Argentina agree joint statement on areas of mutual cooperation

14 Sep 2016 09:45 AM

The British Government and the Government of Argentina have agreed to an improved relationship through closer co-operation on areas of mutual interest, including on trade and security.

A UK-Argentine joint statement has been agreed following a series of high level meetings in Buenos Aires with Sir Alan Duncan - the first Foreign Office Minister to visit Argentina since 2009.

During the visit Sir Alan met President Mauricio Macri, Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra and Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Foradori, as well as Senator Federico Pinedo, Cabinet Minister Marcos Pena and Strategic Affairs Secretary Fulvio Pompeo. He also attended a Business and Investment Forum and met Science and Technology Minister Lino Barañao, Transport Minister Guillermo Dietrich and Energy and Mining Minister Juan Jose Aranguren.

Both countries agreed the first positive statement on South Atlantic issues since 1999, which set out a commitment to work together on issues affecting the South Atlantic and the Falkland Islands. They agreed to work toward removing restrictive measures around the oil and gas industry, shipping and fishing affecting the Falkland Islands in the coming months. Both delegations expressed support for a project to identify the remains of unknown Argentine soldiers buried in the Falkland Islands emphasising the humanitarian nature of this work.

None of the discussions or the statement affect the sovereignty of the islands and the UK remains absolutely clear in its support of the rights of the islanders.

The statement sets out areas of closer co-operation for the two countries, including through increasing trade links, uncovering new investment opportunities, strengthening cultural ties, tackling corruption and organised crime, and increasing links in science and technology.

Both countries set out the need to tackle effectively threats to international peace and security, and agreed to explore opportunities to work more closely together. This will build on the existing similar approach of the UK and Argentina at the United Nations, including on specific issues such as human rights, non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and the fight against drugs, terrorism and organised crime. The statement reaffirmed the UK’s support for Argentina’s G20 presidency in 2018.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Alan Duncan said:

The UK and Argentina are building a positive relationship based on areas where we so clearly agree.

Over the past two days I have held meetings which have helped us to reach agreements. The UK and Argentina have a broad relationship that goes beyond our differences.

I am pleased we have agreed the Falkland Islands are free to set up flight connections with other countries in the region. A monthly stopover in Argentina will see a further arrangement similar to that which exists already.

The South Atlantic Dialogue will seek to build cooperation in areas of mutual interest. Of course this will not include the issue of sovereignty. The UK continues to strongly support the rights of the Falkland Islanders and our position on sovereignty has not changed - there can be no dialogue on this unless the Falkland Islanders so wish.

It’s clear to me that Argentina is open for business. The measures agreed today demonstrate we can make progress through dialogue.

You can read the full statement here