Argentina’s foreign minister Susana Malcorra stated that the conflict with the United Kingdom over the Falklands/Malvinas Islands sovereignty is “a constitutional issue, not optional”, and described the position of the former Cristina Fernandez administration on the matter as “too tough”, while pledging that the “conflict must and will be integrated into a wider perspective”.
“Malvinas is a constitutional issue not optional, our constitution clearly points out that the Malvinas question is a totally and absolute priority”, said the minister during the end of the year celebration at the ministry.
Malcorra added that after being twelve years out of Argentina she was surprised at the prevailing ‘dichotomy’ spirit, “either you are with me or you are against me; you’re good or bad, but life is full of shades and grey, and that is how we must move”.
“I insist some issues have been handled with a black or white dichotomy, which in my view is not the best way to defend Argentina’s interests. I think we must look at those cases in which we have differences, and work on those differences without forgetting that in those differences there are also opportunities”, underlined the minister.
“Not always do you achieve the maximum by totally fortifying positions, which does not mean that you are going to yield on principles. Now we must look to where to calibrate our position in defense of the interests of Argentina so that there are no doubts, but we must also find the way to do so”, added the minister.
Malcorra anticipated that the administration of president Mauricio Macri is going to be “evolutionary, nor revolutionary” in the Malvinas dispute, since we are going to work on the basis of the constitution. “We are going to integrate the conflict with a wider perspective”.
“Malvinas must also be addressed in the context of the South Atlantic, the same way we must address Antarctica. We are going to create an area which probably is an Under Secretariat for the South Atlantic, which will also include Malvinas”.
Malcorra talked about trade and treaties, in contrast with what had been the previous administration policy, ‘the idea that closing in we have more opportunities has been completely devalued by concrete examples’ and thus the significance of the agreement under discussion between Mercosur and the European Union.
“Mercosur proposal extends to almost 87% of goods and services, the EU on the other hand is demanding a 90% floor, but Europe’s proposal must include agriculture”.
The Argentine minister revealed that the EU said it was willing on the agriculture issue but needs a few weeks and Mercosur want to make the proposals’ exchange in the first quarter of 2016, and “this by the way was agreed during the last two blocks summit. But we can’t talk about our proposal until we see what the other side comes up with”.
Likewise the minister pointed out that any free trade agreement will be implemented gradually, “so people should not be fearful: there is no intention or possibility that the doors open overnight, it’s a long process”.