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Agreement on the identification of Argentine soldiers buried in Darwin cemetery

20 December 2016
Información para la Prensa N°: 
357/16

Argentina and the United Kingdom agreed to proceed with the identification of unidentified Argentine soldiers buried in Darwin cemetery (Malvinas Islands) at a meeting held today in London.

Both countries granted this mandate to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) so that it may undertake this strictly humanitarian initiative within the framework of the agreement reached between the Argentine Republic and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on 29 November 2016.

The agreement was signed by the Minister of State for Europe and the Americas at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Sir Alan Duncan, and Argentine Deputy Foreign Minister Pedro Villagra Delgado.

Under the sovereignty safeguard formula of the bilateral agreement, the Red Cross will form a group of forensic experts comprising two Argentine experts, for the purpose of collecting DNA samples from unidentified soldiers which will then be compared to samples collected from families that voluntarily consented to identification. The Red Cross will start working in early 2017.

The Argentine initiative is aimed at identifying these heroes who fought for our Nation and at bringing peace of mind to their families. The purpose of the initiative is purely humanitarian and seeks to settle an historic debt with the families of soldiers fallen in the South Atlantic conflict who are buried in the Darwin cemetery as "Argentine soldiers known only to God". Thanks to this initiative, their first and last name will be indicated in their final resting place at the cemetery.

At the meeting, the countries also reached a preliminary agreement to increase the frequency of flights to the islands from Argentina's mainland. The two countries will conduct negotiations with Brazilian and Chilean airport authorities to determine the stops and flight schedules from said countries.

Furthermore, work was done on the basis of the road map agreed upon in the joint statement issued in September, which reflected the improvement of relations between Argentina and the United Kingdom. In the joint statement, both parties undertook to focus on promoting positive relations in order to further strengthen bilateral ties and develop closer bonds and sound cooperation for the benefit of the peoples of both countries.

Progress was made in terms of improving the bilateral relation on the basis of an agenda that addresses medium and short-term global challenges in areas such as democracy, human rights, cooperation on peace and international security matters, nonproliferation, environmental issues and climate change, renewable energies, trade and investment, science, technology and innovation, tourism, and sports.

Press Release No. 457/16

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