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September 24, 2017

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Argentine president presses Falklands claim at UN meet

UNITED NATIONS -- Argentina's president took her country's claim to the Falkland Islands to the United Nations on Thursday, challenging Britain in a highly emotional speech to "act more intelligently" and sit down to talk about the future of the tiny archipelago.

President Cristina Fernandez chose to appear at the annual meeting of the little-known U.N. Decolonization Committee on the 30th anniversary of Britain's ouster of an Argentine invasion force from the Falklands, using the occasion to reiterate Argentina's opposition to any more wars and to criticize the British prime minister's decision to mark the day by flying the Falklands flag over his official 10 Downing Street residence.

"I felt shame from far away for them because wars are not to be celebrated or commemorated," she said, pointing to the hundreds of deaths in the 74-day conflict over the islands, which Argentina calls Las Malvinas.

While accusing Britain of abusing its power as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, lying about the islands' history and acting as "a bully," Fernandez also said she came to the U.N. "without any rancor."

"We're not asking for much," she said in the first-ever appearance at the committee by a head of state. "We're just asking to talk ... We're not asking anyone to say 'yes' the Malvinas are Argentina's."

Argentina claims Britain has illegally occupied the islands since 1833. Britain disputes Argentina's claim saying it ignores the wishes of the island's 3,000 residents who have expressed a desire to remain British. Argentina maintains that the residents do not have the unilateral right to decide what they want the islands to be.

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