This was it. After weeks of controversy regarding the recent agreement with the United Kingdom that included talk of Malvinas, this was President Mauricio Macri’s chance to give a strong message that his government understood the criticism.That was not to be. In his first speech at the United Nations, he talked about numerous things, including Syrian refugees, energy and women’s rights. (And as the TV commentators couldn’t help but remind us: OMG he did it all without reading from a piece of paper!).
What was missing? Any kind of strong speech vindicating Argentina’s position on the Malvinas instead he talked about a need to “amicably solve the sovereignty dispute.” Huh? At no point does Macri even outline Argentina’s position. Just so you don’t think we’re taking his words out of context, here is what the president said:
“Dialogue and the pacific solutions to controversy are the cornerstones of Argentina’s foreign policy as a democracy. That is why I am reiterating our call for dialogue with the United Kingdom, as stipulated by so many resolutions from this organization, to amicably solve the sovereignty dispute over the Malvinas Islands, the South Georgia Islands and the South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas.”
Macri was referencing the fact that the UN’s Special Committee on Decolonization has repeatedly issued resolutions demanding that the UK enter negotiations with Argentina.
“We have shown interest in progressing in our bilateral relationship, which can and must be mutually beneficial. That’s why we trust that a definitive solution for this prolonged discussion will be possible,” continued Macri.
And that was it. Where was the strong language, the discourse on Argentina’s justified claim or the firm determination that the Malvinas were unacceptably usurped? Macri had previously told the media that he would be bringing up the sovereignty claim in his speech, saying that it was “constant and non-negotiable,” but that language was not present today.
There were lots of expectations riding on Macri’s speech to truly defend the Argentine claim and calm the waters back home, but his words or lack thereof might cause a whole other stir.
While we’re at it, Macri also failed to even utter the word “Iran” in relation to the 1994 AMIA Jewish community center bombing.
Macri did have time to mention Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra’s candidacy for UN Secretary General, a position currently occupied by South Korean Ban Ki-moon, who will step down this year.