PORT STANLEY (Reuters) -- A member of the Falklands legislative
council has set out proposals under which Argentina would freeze its
longstanding claim to the disputed south Atlantic islands for 50 years.
Councillor Michael Summers said the arrangement would be sealed by a
treaty between Britain and Argentina after it had been agreed by the
Falklands Islands Legislative Council.
In an article in this week's edition of the islands' newspaper, Penguin
Summers said of the freeze:
"It should be for not less than 50 years, during which time the Argentines
would not pursue their claim in any international fora, nor would it be an item
of domestic politics."
Summers said that during the period of the freeze, Argentina would
recognize British control of the Falklands and would also recognize the
Argentina would, within 10 years of the treaty, remove from its constitution
the clause on recovery of the Falklands.
Summers said that after the removal of that clause, the Falklands government
would progressively ease immigration restrictions on Argentine citizens
visiting the Falklands, possibly using some form of quota system.
Argentina would withdraw all economic sanctions applied to the Falklands
and recognize the "economic zone" around the islands.
"Arrangements such as these would take the hype and uncertainty out of
Falklands-Argentine relations over a lengthy period and give both sides a
breathing space during which each could develop in its own way, or
cooperate on specific issues if both sides agreed," Summers wrote.
Another Falklands councillor, Lewis Clifton, said that Summers's article
not been approved by the seven other members of the legislature.
But he added: "His views are consistent with the underlying current which
prevails within the legislature at the moment."
Asked if he favored a 50-year freeze, Clifton said: "It is not an impossibility,
but I would be anxious for the Argentine government to submit details about
what happens in their view in 50 years time and what they would expect,
and also what constitutes a freeze in their framework."
Last month, Argentine President Carlos Menem said his country could
consider temporarily freezing its claim to the Falklands if Britain promised to
negotiate sovereignty eventually.
Britain has refused to discuss the sovereignty of the islands since expelling
Argentine force which captured them for 10 weeks in 1982. Argentina has
claimed the islands it calls the Malvinas since 1833.
Copyright 1999 Reuters.