It’s uncommon for a head of state to preside over a routine meeting at the United Nations, but that didn’t stop Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner from showing up at the world body on Tuesday and using the forum to renew her country’s claims over the Falkland Islands, comparing it to the Palestinian struggle for statehood.
It was also the first Security Council meeting in which the U.S. was represented by the new Ambassador Samantha Power who did not comment either on the Falkland's claim or on the comparison with Palestinian statehood. The Obama administration faced ire from Britain this past spring for refusing to take sides on the Falkland issue even after a March referendum showed residents of the islands voted overwhelmingly - 99.8 percent of eligible voters - to remain a British territory.
Former aide to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Nile Gardner, called the response in March "the latest slap in the face from the Obama presidency for America’s closest friend and ally."
Argentina assumed the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council for the month on Tuesday, and Fernandez used the opportunity to travel to New York to restate her country’s claims on the disputed archipelago.
In this photo provided by the United Nations, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, right, poses for a photograph with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner before a meeting at United Nations headquarters, Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Mark Garten, United Nations)
"We simply want the UN resolution to be enforced," she added, referring to UN Resolution 2065 which was passed in 1965, urging both sides to negotiate.
Iran’s Press TV is calling her presentation as “a well-aimed inaugurating speech” and writes:
To describe what she called a “new” world order that can no longer be ruled by the Cold War logics, the South American leader linked the struggle of Palestine for a free and independent state with Argentina’s own 180-year row with London over the Malvinas Islands.
AP reports that Fernandez “criticized member states that don’t implement U.N. resolutions, citing unheeded demands for a Palestinian state and Britain’s refusal to engage in talks about the disputed Falkland Islands, which Argentina calls the Malvinas.”
UK Ambassador to the UN Mark Lyall Grant swiftly rejected Argentina’s claims to the Falklands and criticized Fernandez for raising an issue not connected to the subject of the meeting which was supposed to be UN cooperation with regional organizations.
“The United Kingdom does not accept that Argentina has any legitimate claim to sovereignty over the Falkland Islands,” he said, adding that a March referendum of the 3,000 residents of the archipelago showed that they wish to remain a territory of the United Kingdom.
Fernandez railed against what she described as a Cold War-era arrangement at the UN where the five permanent members— the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – have veto power.
She said that “we can’t deal with the problems in this new world with old instruments and old methods.”
The Palestinian “International Middle East Media Center” reports that Fernandez pointed to how the veto power “has been used to prevent the adoption of resolutions related to Palestine and Israel’s occupation.”
Making her first appearance at the Security Council, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power did not comment on the veto issue or on the Falklands and Palestine comparison. TheBlaze reviewed the website of the U.S. Mission to the UN and the State Department briefing transcripts for Tuesday and Wednesday which also showed no reaction to Fernandez's Falklands-Palestine statement.
According to the official transcript of her remarks, Power focused on the issue that the meeting was supposed to address, saying that regional organizations are “essential” to preventing conflict and halting mass atrocities.
“While UN cooperation with regional organizations will remain important, we must also be clear-eyed about its limits. Although the League of Arab States has been at the forefront of pushing for a political transition in Syria, well-known divisions have prevented this Council from supporting that effort,” Power said.
The AP reports that Fernandez showed up to the meeting 25 minutes late, forcing Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the gathered dignitaries to wait, “cooling their heels and chatting.”