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458 words - May 21, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
On May 17, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted on Friday to place French Polynesia back on the UN list of territories that should be decolonized and requested the French Government to "facilitate rapid progress […] towards a self-determination process."
Following a consensus resolution tabled by Nauru, Tuvalu and Solomon Islands, the UNGA declared (full text of the resolution) that "an obligation exists on the part of the Government of France, as the administering Power of the Territory, to transmit information on French Polynesia," in accordance with the UN Charter that affirms "the inalienable right of peoples to self-determination and independence."
France first responded to the UNGA resolution in a soft diplomatic way, indicating that the UNGA likely is unaware of the recent elections that were held on April 21 and May 5 of this year and that showed the Polynesians, the inhabitants of New Caledonia, have democratically renewed their Territorial Assembly (TA). Later, the French government strongly rejected the UNGA resolution as "a blatant interference, a complete absence of respect for the democratic choices of the Polynesians and an abuse of United Nations' decolonization objectives."
In fact, the elections showed the voters "have given unquestionable majority to the candidates who are in favor of (New Caledonia's) current status of autonomy," the French Foreign Ministry said (in french). Besides, the TA officially disagreed with the UNGA resolution, saying it denied the clear choice the Polynesian people has made by universal suffrage.
The stance of the French government was not surprising and a very large majority of France's political community and opinion agreed with it. What came as a surprise has been Argentina taking advantage of the UNGA resolution to advance its interests in its never-ending confrontation with Britain over the Malvinas/Falklands' sovereignty.
On May 20, DiploNews directly received an official statement (in spanish) issued by the Embassy of Argentina in London whose subject read the "United Kingdom (is) against the principle of self-determination."
Summing up Argentina's support to the oversight of the decolonization's process by the United Nations, and summarizing Argentina's viewpoint on the history of the French Polynesia, it further said that "the position of the United Kingdom, rejecting the the text adopted on Friday once again shows its double standard regarding the people's right to self-determination by dissociating itself from a resolution in favour of the right to self-determination of the people of French Polynesia."
Then, Argentina's statement drew a parallel with the current situation of the Malvinas Islands saying "it is but concealing an anachronistic colonial situation." According to Buenos Aires, the question of the Malvinas Islands does refer to self-determination whose interpretation by the UK verges on "colonial hipocrisy," the statement said.
France didn't respond to Argentina's statement yet.
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