Earlier this month, Spain weighed in on the row over the Falkland Islands, with four former prime ministers calling for further talks between Argentina and the UK. They called on the two countries to find “a quick solution to the sovereignty dispute” over the territory. Samuel Arnold-Parra – a Global Risk Insights analyst who specializes in Latin America – told Express.co.uk that Spain’s interference in the matter is likely linked to “the country’s interest in Gibraltar”.
Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory that shares a land border with Spain, located at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula.
Mr Arnold-Parra compared the Falklands dispute to that of Gibraltar, noting that “similar arguments” can be made for Spain and Argentina’s claim to the two territories.
Spain are likely promoting Argentina’s claim to the Falklands as it would “naturally” give them a “stronger claim to Gibraltar”, he told Express.co.uk.
He said: “I think the Spanish position is quite favorable to Argentina.
“I think the reason has to do with Spain’s interest in Gibraltar.
“Because naturally similar arguments can be made where Spain lost Gibraltar in a military conflict in the 18th century.
“Argentina’s claim to the Falklands also dates back a long time, and the Falklands War was Argentina’s attempt to assert its claim to the Falklands.
“So they are basically in a situation where Spain would support Argentina’s claim to the Falklands because it is in Spain’s interest to be able to argue for their right to Gibraltar.
“As they are in the same scenario, hypothetically, if the Falklands issue were to be taken to the International Court of Justice and there was a ruling in favor of Argentina, then Spain would naturally have a stronger claim. to Gibraltar.”
Speaking in favor of a renewed dialogue between the UK and Argentina in early January, the coalition of former Spanish politicians said: “Members of this dialogue support group have expressed their firm commitment to the international law and the peaceful resolution of disputes between States.
“We reaffirm the need for the governments of the Argentine Republic and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to resume, as soon as possible, negotiations aimed at finding an early solution to the sovereignty dispute over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and surrounding sea areas.
“In this regard, we underscore the successive resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly urging the Secretary-General to exert good offices efforts to resume negotiations with a view to finding a peaceful solution to the dispute as soon as possible.”
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Spanish politicians – Felipe González, José María Aznar, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Mariano Rajoy – are part of a newly formed group to support dialogue between the two countries.
But a statement released by the Argentine embassy in Madrid said the group was formed “in accordance with Spain’s historical support for dialogue as a mechanism for resolving the dispute over sovereignty”.
Their intervention on the matter came after London and Buenos Aires clashed again on the anniversary of the war between the two nations.
Speaking at the Falklands 40 Margaret Thatcher Day conference, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace issued a warning on the Falklands, saying “our enemies should not doubt Britain’s determination to stand up to bullies “.
He added: “Distance will not deter Britain, nor will the scale of the challenge.
“History is littered with the consequences of those who underestimated this small island.”
In response, Argentina’s foreign ministry dismissed what it called “belligerent threats” and “disparaging references to Argentina.”