THE FALKLANDS should belong to Uruguay, the authors of a new book on the disputed islands have sensationally claimed.
• 1841 treaty between Spain and Uruguay ceded the Falklands to Uruguay
A forgotten 172-year-old treaty signed between Spain and the south American country gives it sovereignty rights over the British colony,
Uruguayan architect Juan Ackermann, one of the two authors of the book, insisted last night: “Legally, the islands are ours.”
Co-author Alfredo Villegas, an Argentine engineer, added: “For me, as an Argentine, it was very difficult to come to terms with this.”
The book, whose title translates into English as ‘The Falkland Islands. Are They Uruguayan?’ argues colonial Spain controlled the
region’s seas, islands and coastline from naval bases ion Cuba, Peru and the Uruguayan capital Montevideo.
Mr Ackermann said: “No-one remembers an 1841 treaty signed between Spain and Uruguay.
“In that document, Spain cedes it the naval base’s powers.
“Seventeen years later, Spain does the same with Argentina, but it couldn’t give it something it’s already given another. That is a very
strong argument in favour of Uruguay.”
A 1972 international agreement on the Antartic confirmed Uruguay as the rightful owner of the Falklands because it was based on the 1841
treaty, Mr Villegas added.
He told an interviewer: “It was signed first in the Uruguayan senate and then in the Argentine senate.
“The basis of that signature is the 1841 treaty.
“When the Argentine legislators signed, they were recognising that agreement.
“It’s obvious they didn’t read what they signed.”
One option is to do nothing and let Argentina and Britain carry on their war of words over the islands, the authors argue.
But they also claim Uruguay would be within its rights to start negotiations with the UK and Argentine about proposals to divide up
the disputed territory.
International analyst Juan Luis Gonzalez-Perez described the book today as a “historical curiosity” but quashed the idea Uruguay had any sovereignty claim over the Falklands.
He insisted: “Uruguay has never shown any type of interest in that area and it would be a triviality for it to now make any sovereignty
“The United Nations recognise that the only two countries who lay claim to sovereignty are the United Kingdom and Argentina.”
Argentine president Christina Kirchner upped the ante recently over the Falklands.
She wrote an open letter earlier this month to David Cameron accusing Britain of stripping the Falklands from Argentina in an aggressive act
of colonialism 180 years ago.
The Sun newspaper wrote a reply to Mrs Kirchner, published in Argentine newspapers, pointing out British sovereignty over the
Falklands dates back to 1765.
The islanders are due to vote on sovereignty in a referendum on March 10 and 11.
They are expected to send a firm message to Argentina they wanted to remain British.