BUENOS AIRES – The Argentine government on Monday officially declassified secret files relating to the country’s 1982 war with Britain over the Falkland Islands.
The Defense Ministry has 30 working days to establish a mechanism for members of the public to consult the records, according to a resolution published in the official gazette.
President Cristina Fernandez announced the declassification plan last week during a speech marking the 33rd anniversary of the landing of Argentine troops in the South Atlantic archipelago that Latin Americans know as the Malvinas.
Fighting officially began on May 1, 1982, with the arrival of a British task force, and ended 45 days later with the surrender of the Argentines.
The conflict claimed nearly 1,000 lives – some 700 Argentines and 255 British soldiers and sailors.
Britain has ruled the Falklands since 1833, but Buenos Aires insists the islands rightfully belong to Argentina.
The dispute over the Falklands took on new importance in 2010 with the discovery of large offshore oil and gas deposits in the islands.
Tensions flared again last week when Britain announced it was bolstering its military garrison in the Falklands in response to an ostensible Argentine plan to lease long-range bombers from Russia.
Both Argentina and Russia denied that any such deal was in the works.
Last week also saw the publication of documents provided by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden showing that Britain tasked one of its spy agencies with thwarting Argentina’s push for sovereignty over the Falklands.
GCHQ, the British equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency, developed a plan that involved both intelligence collection and “effects operations,” which, according to information previously provided by Snowden, refers to actions such as disseminating false information on the Internet.
Buenos Aires demands that Britain comply with a 1965 United Nations resolution describing London’s continued rule of the Falklands as colonialism and calling on the parties to resolve the dispute through dialogue.
London has refused to discuss the question of sovereignty and says that the Falklanders, who are overwhelmingly in favor of remaining British, should decide their own future.