Ushuaia: Argentina`s president said that she has asked the International Red Cross to persuade
Britain to let its DNA experts identify unknown soldiers buried in the Falkland Islands.
Thirty years after Argentina and Britain went to war over
the remote South Atlantic archipelago, Cristina Fernandez says
universal human rights demand that both countries work
together to give those remains back to their families.
Her much-anticipated speech on the anniversary of
Argentina`s April 2, 1982 invasion of the islands was focused
on promoting dialogue and understanding. She said yesterday
her government sets a global standard for protecting human
rights and vowed to "respect the interests of the islanders"
as Argentina seeks to peacefully regain control.
"We don`t have war drums, nor do we wear military
helmets. Our only helmets are those of construction workers,
working for the inclusion of all," she said at the city`s
Monument to the Fallen, honoring the 649 Argentines who died
in the conflict.
Despite attention-grabbing images of protesters burning a
Union Jack flag and a soldier in effigy outside the British
embassy yesterday, polls show zero appetite among Argentines
for a military solution.
Prime Minister David Cameron said in London earlier
Monday that Britain had to come to the islanders` defense in
1982, and will do so again if anyone tries to deprive them of
their liberty. The 74-day occupation ended when British troops
routed the ill-prepared Argentines in hard-fought trench
warfare. In all, 255 British soldiers and three islanders were
Fernandez called Cameron`s statement absurd and
ridiculous, noting that Argentines were also deprived of their
liberty at the time, living under a 1976-1983 dictatorship,
supported by outside powers, that had kidnapped and killed
thousands of its own people.
"I am proud of having made promoting human rights one of
the pillars of our state," she said. For this reason, it`s
impossible to consider that Argentina would not also protect
the rights of the 3,000 islanders, she argued.
Britain has refused Argentina`s repeated calls to
negotiate the islands` sovereignty, saying it`s up to the
islanders to decide. Before, during and after the 1982
conflict, the islanders have overwhelmingly said they want to
maintain British protection.