Argentina will continue to press its claim to the Falkland Islands despite the "illegal" referendum on the territory's sovereignty due next week, the country's ambassador to London said on Monday.
Alicia Castro declared that the "100 per cent predictable" plebiscite would change nothing.
On Monday, the Falkland Islanders will vote on whether to remain a British Overseas Territory in a referendum supported by the Government as a visible expression of the Islanders' right to self determination.
But Argentina argues that they have no such right and the views of the Islanders are irrelevant to the dispute over sovereignty. Ms Castro made clear that Argentina would hold to this position even if the Islanders were to vote in a future referendum to join Argentina.
"This referendum in no way changes the essence of the Malvinas question and its predictable result will not bring an end to the dispute," she said.
Instead, the ambassador argued that the views of the Islanders were a thorn in the side of Britain's relations with Argentina and South America as a whole. "We think it's irrational that this very small community should obstruct relations between two sovereign nations and, more than that, should obstruct the relations between the United Kingdom and the whole Latin American region," said Ms Castro. To bolster her argument, the ambassador was joined at her official residence in London by Marcelo Kohen, an Argentine professor of international law at the University of Geneva. He described the forthcoming referendum as "completely illegal". Prof Kohen acknowledged that "self determination is a fundamental right enshrined in the charter of the United Nations". But he noted that "different human communities have different rights" and "not all are entitled to the right of self determination ... only peoples have the right to self determination". Prof Kohen said: "The General Assembly has not recognised the existence of a separate Falklands people and so the General Assembly has not recognised the applicability of the principle of self determination to the islands." Consequently, the referendum was "illegal" and "irrelevant", he said. Asked whether Argentina would take this view even if the Islanders were to vote to unite with Buenos Aires, Prof Kohen said: "The outcome of the referendum is completely irrelevant to the question of legality." The Falkland Islands have an adult population of 2,563. They will vote on Monday on whether to "retain their current political status". Source: Telegraph.