In his annual Christmas message to the British Overseas Territory, released on December 23, the Prime Minister reaffirmed “the UK’s commitment to the Falklands and its people”. He praised the Islands for its successful Covid vaccine roll-out, which he said suggested 2022 would be a more normal year than the last.
Attempting a little joviality around Christmas, Mr Johnson also congratulated the Falklands for gaining recognition on the table tennis front.
He said: “2021 was the year that even the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) recognised, in the face of vociferous protests from some, the inviolable sovereignty of Falkland table tennis players.”
The ITTF officially recognised the Falklands as a ‘full member’ in November, despite opposition from Argentina.
Mr Johnson’s comments suggested the Falklands had won on the diplomatic front, in a blog to Argentina.
This touched a nerve in the Argentinian Government which responded with an attack.
Secretary for the Falklands Guillermo Carmona, quoted in infobae, said: “In international organisations, British colonialism always loses by a landslide.”
He highlighted that the ITTF is made up of more than 220 associations from around the globe.
This, he said, is greater “than the number of recognised states in the world”.
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“Boasting about a military victory that international law does not recognise as a title of sovereignty only reopens the wounds of war.”
He added that this “ignores 38 years of Argentinian democracy”.
Tierra del Fuego Governor Gustavo Melella was even more harsh about what he called Mr Johnson’s “desperate rhetoric”.
He said: “This communication is clearly part of Britain’s desperation to prop up its decadent empire.”
He added that the Prime Minister’s comments were “disrespectful of international law and in denial of dozens of UN Resolutions that call for an end to colonialism in the world”.
Regardless of these comments, Mr Johnson said the UK’s commitment to the Falklands would not wane.
In his Christmas message, he said: “As long as you and your fellow islanders wish to remain under the umbrella of the British Overseas Territories, that is exactly where you will stay.”
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.