The Argentinian President Mauricio Macri has declared, during the commemoration of the Falkland/Malvinas war the 2nd of April 2016, that “Those Islands in the south Atlantic [...] continue to be inexorably ours[...]. We will return” and added that this will be accomplished through “dialogue, truth and justice." This statement came shortly after his meeting with the United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron, during their visit to the United States, where he clarified that the Falkland/Malvinas will have to be part of any further dialogue between the two countries.


From Spain to the UN Resolution

Argentina had acquired the Islands, located 1.500 kilometres from its shores, in 1820 as part of its independence from Spain. In 1833, the British army took control over them, and since then, Argentina has always claimed that the Falkland/Malvinas had to return under their control. To regain this sovereignty, General Leopoldo Gualtieri sent the Argentinian army to invade the Islands on the 2nd of April, 1982, starting a war which would last 74 days and would end with an humiliating defeat for Buenos Aires, 907 casualties (649 Argentinian soldiers, 255 British, and 3 civilians) and the fall of the 6 years military regime which had ruled the country since 1976.

The war broke after almost 17 years of fruitless dialogue between the two countries, as required by the United Nations resolution 2065 and the compliance with such resolution is what every Argentinian President has demanded from the UK since the end of the armed conflict.

After the referendum: will there be a bilateral dialogue?

So far, the British government has always denied any further discussion on the islands, and called instead for a referendum for the Falklanders in 2013: only 3 votes out of 1517 were cast against changing the current status of overseas territory of the United Kingdom.


Despite the results, the Argentinian President at the time, Cristina Kirchner, rejected the outcome, claiming that no solution will be considered valid unless in compliance with the UN resolution.

Macri’s words on dialogue seem to indicate his intention of continuing with the request of a bilateral negotiation, but his position on the islands is still ambivalent. First of all, years ago when interviewed about the topic, he affirmed that incorporating the Falkland/Malvinas into the Argentinian territory would represent a great cost for the country and he was not fully inclined toward this idea.

This happened in 1997 when he was not involved in politics, and some argue that his position might have changed. However, he has been the first President who did not mention the dispute in his first speech in his new capacity. Today, he could have an important leverage to reopen the discussion with Cameron: the UN has recently ruled in favor of Argentina on its request to extend the territorial waters, resulting in the Falkland/Malvinas being in Argentinian waters.

Macri's foreign policy

However, the main question about Macri’s position resides in his political view.


Since in charge, the foreign policy of Argentina has taken a markedly different direction compared with the previous 12 years. Macri has vehemently emphasized the need for a closer cooperation with the European Union, and started to rebuild the relationships with the United States. In parallel, he took some distance from the Mercosur, when he demanded Venezuela to be sanctioned; his foreign relations seem to be more and more oriented outside Latin America, and primarily dictated by economic reasons.

Macri is a businessman and campaigned mostly on boosting the economy, with measures much closer to the USA think tank’s ideas than those of his predecessors. This is where the conflict over the Falkland/Malvinas might put him in a position to choose whether to spoil his relations with London or to park the issue in the name of improved economic links. And many of his opponents are ready to bet he would choose the latter.