Thus, in the last two centuries, about one third of all territorial disputes have developed into all-out confrontation and war, whereas many others were peacefully settled by means of negotiations, third-party mediation, arbitration by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), etc. (Wiegand, 2011). The long-drawn-out dispute between the United Kingdom and Argentina over the sovereignty of the Falkland/Malvinas islands – which lasted for more than 170 years, as against the average duration of ongoing territorial disputes of about 50 years (Wiegand, 2011) – denotes a notable example of the former.
This paper is intended to critically review and evaluate the role of dialogue in the international context, namely in reconciliation and peace building; being based on a case study concerning the Falklands War of 1982, hence the failure of diplomacy at resolving the problem and preventing armed conflict, the paper expounds on the reasons why diplomatic efforts, including negotiations and third-party mediation, came to nothing.
The Falkland archipelago is located in the South Atlantic, some three hundred miles away from the mainland South America, with a total land area of 4 700 square miles, and approximately 2000 inhabitants (Beck, 1988; Gibran, 1998). The East and West Falkland are the archipelago’s largest islands, with extremely irregular coastlines and a hilly land surface, separated by a fifty-mile long and ten-mile wide waterway named Falkland Sound, aka the Strait of San Carlos; the capital city, Port Stanley, with a population of some 1000 as of 1980, is on the northeast coast of the East Falkland (Beck, 1988; Gibran, 1998). Over the past century, nearly all of the inhabitants of the East and West Falkland, which have actually declined ever since 1931, were of British origin (Gibran, 1998).
Ever since their discovery in the 16th century, the Falklands have been subjected to successive occupation attempts by a number of colonial powers,