The Annual General Meeting of the Falkland Islands Association (FIA) was held on 10 December 2016 immediately after the annual Battle Day commemoration at the Cenotaph in London at which the Second Sea Lord, Admiral Woodcock, laid the principal wreath on behalf of the Armed Services.
The Chairman, Mr Alan Huckle, reported that the Association was in good order. Support for the Falkland Islands remained strong but various events internationally, including Brexit, had potential implications for the Islands. The new Argentine administration under President Macri had promised a shift in approach in its relationship with the UK and the Joint Communique, signed during Sir Alan Duncan's visit to Argentina in September, was encouraging. But the undertaking to remove the obstacles to trade and communications with the Falkland Islands, imposed by the Kirchners, had been heavily criticised in Argentina, creating doubts that President Macri, without a majority in Congress and in economic difficulties, would be able to achieve his aim.
The Hon Mike Summers, member of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly, had an upbeat message on the Falkland Islands economy, although he hoped that the Brexit negotiations would secure continued trading access to the EU single market for Falkland Islands exports. The prospect of oil production around the Falklands within the next decade would be a step-change in the Falkland Islands economy.
In terms of Argentina, it should be possible, Mr Summers said, to agree on the DNA identification under ICRC auspices of the unknown Argentine soldiers buried at Darwin cemetery. This had been discussed in detail with the ICRC in Geneva that week and would be discussed further at a meeting with Argentina in London on 19-20 December to follow up the commitments made in the Joint Communique. He also hoped for progress on opening up air communications with third countries in the region. Other matters might take longer.
Mr Andrew Rosindell MP, Secretary to the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Falkland Islands, gave a reassurance that cross-party parliamentary support for the Falkland Islands and the principle of self-determination for the Falkland Islanders remained firm. HMG had also made arrangements to ensure that the implications for all the UK Overseas Territories were fully taken into account during the Brexit negotiations.
The minutes of the AGM and the Chairman's report can be accessed in the Members Only section of this website.
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