PARIS – Argentina’s president said Wednesday that the U.S. and Britain displayed double standards with their positions on Crimea and the Falkland Islands, undermining efforts to preserve Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
During a speech in Paris, Cristina Fernandez compared the referendum in the Black Sea peninsula next to Russia to last year’s referendum by Falkland Islanders to remain a British territory. The southern Atlantic islands are known in Spanish as the “Islas Malvinas” and Argentina insists that Britain usurped them 180 years ago.
“Something that is fundamental for preserving world peace, for respecting international law, is to not have a double standard when it is time to make decisions. You can’t be in favour of territorial integrity in Crimea and against territorial integrity with the Malvinas in Argentina,” Fernandez said.
While most Latin American nations support Argentina’s position on the islands, citizens of the Falkland Islands Government voted by 99.8 per cent to remain British.
That referendum was unopposed by the United States, which recognizes the U.K.’s “de-facto administration” of the islands while remaining officially neutral on the competing territorial claims.
She added that Crimea was once part of the former Soviet Union and that Western arguments had been weakened for not having supported Argentina’s case in the Falkland dispute.
“We support territorial integrity — that’s why we voted the way we voted in the Security Council,” she said, referring to Argentina joining the council’s rejection of the referendum in Crimea.
“We either respect the same principles for all, or we live in a world without law, where the most powerful get their way,” Fernandez told journalists.
The issue of Crimea overshadowed a working lunch expected to focus on ways to tackle Argentina’s growing international debt.
97 per cent of voters in Sunday’s referendum said they wanted to separate from Ukraine.
Argentina owes $9.5 billion to the Paris Club, a group of the world’s wealthiest countries that has in recent decades helped other nations with debt problems.
Associated Press writer Michael Warren in Buenos Aires contributed to this report.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP