Similarities between the cases of Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands do not imply that Spain and Argentina will pursue identical strategies, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said here Friday.
“Spain will not necessarily accompany all the decisions Argentina adopts in that matter, or vice-versa,” he said a day after Buenos Aires said that Margallo and Argentine counterpart Hector Timerman had agreed their countries should coordinate efforts to press Britain to negotiate over Gibraltar and the Falklands.
Margallo on Friday pointed to “three agreements” between Argentina and Spain relative to their respective disputes with London.
Both Gibraltar and the Falklands “are included on the (U.N.) list of non-autonomous territories subject to decolonization,” Spain’s top diplomat told reporters at U.N. headquarters.
The cases are also similar in that long-standing U.N. resolutions mandate the application of “the principle of territorial integrity and not that of self-determination” and that “the solution of the conflict should come from bilateral conversations between the United Kingdom and Argentina or the United Kingdom and Spain,” Margallo said.
At the same time, he said, the issues of Gibraltar and the Falklands present “historical and juridical differences.”
Madrid is open to collaboration with Buenos Aires “provided it’s limited and circumscribed to those three aforementioned principles,” Margallo said.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy denounced Gibraltar’s current status as an “anachronism” in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday.
The day before, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez used her address to the assembly to blast Britain for refusing to engage in dialogue with Buenos Aires over the Falklands, known to Latin Americans as the Malvinas.
Britain will not discuss ceding sovereignty to Spain without the consent of the residents of the Rock, British Prime Minister David Cameron said earlier this month in a message to mark Gibraltar’s national day.
Gibraltar, a territory of 5.5 sq. kilometers (2.1 sq. miles) at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, has been held by Britain since 1704 and became a British Crown Colony in 1713 under the Treaty of Utrecht.
Britain has occupied the Falklands since 1833. Argentine troops invaded the South Atlantic archipelago on April 2, 1982, at the order of the military junta then in power in Buenos Aires.
Fighting officially began on May 1, 1982, with the arrival of a British task force, and ended 45 days later with the surrender of the Argentines.
The conflict claimed nearly 1,000 lives - some 700 Argentines and 255 British soldiers and sailors.