Falklands: Former Argentine senator calls for fresh talks with UK
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And the country has used the incident to push its sovereignty claim over the remote archipelago in the South Atlantic, which it refers to as the Malvinas. The Foreign Office last week informed Argentina of its plans to carry out military tests in the Falklands, Spanish news agency EFE reported.
The Rapier missiles will be tested on a yet-to-be-specified date but the plans have already triggered an angry reaction from the Argentinian Government, let by President Alberto Fernandez.
Argentina’s letter of reply to the UK says: “The alleged defensive condition of the British military base in the South Atlantic is not only totally unjustified, but also represents a threat to the entire region.”
A further statement issued by Argentina’s Foreign Ministry added: “Argentina rejects in the strongest terms the carrying out of military manoeuvres, and the launching of missiles in particular, in Argentine territory illegitimately occupied by the United Kingdom.
The statement claimed the tests were an “unjustified show of force and a deliberate departure from the appeals” for Argentina and the UK to resume negotiations over the sovereignty of the islands.
Specifically, Argentina claims tests would contravene a United Nations resolution which urges both parties to refrain from adopting “unilateral decisions that involve the introduction of modifications in the situation while the islands are going through the negotiation process”.
It further claims the UK’s military presence in the region and the launch of missiles contradicted another UN resolution which calls for the both countries ”to honour the South Atlantic region as a zone of peace and cooperation”.
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Separately, earlier this month, all the teams in Argentina’s Professional Soccer League raised flags with the legend “Malvinas are Argentine”.
Daniel Filmus, the Argentinian minister with responsibility for policies towards the Falklands, commented: “We will continue working so that the Argentine flag flies again throughout the national territory. Malvinas are Argentine.”
The Falklands are a British overseas territory, and home to roughly 3,000 people.
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Argentina launched an invasion in 1982, prompting then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to dispatch a task force to reclaim the islands, which it did after a ten-week war in which almost 1,000 lives were lost.
The election of Mr Fernandez has seen Buenos Aires step up its sovereignty claim, with the President raising the issue during his pre-recorded address to the United Nations General Assembly last year.
In response, Andrew Rosindell. chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the British Overseas Territories and the MP for Romford in Essex, told Express.co.uk: “With world leaders still dealing with a pandemic that has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, there is much for them to talk about at the United Nations’ 75th General Assembly.
“For Argentina, where there is currently a nationwide quarantine until October 11, and where 470 deaths were tragically recorded on Tuesday, the speech of their President should have been particularly important.
“Unfortunately and inexplicably, President Alberto Fernandez used some of his precious time at the electronic podium talking about the Falkland Islands, in a foolish attempt to distract from the enormous problems he faces at home.”
Mr Rosindell added: “The UK Government is absolutely clear that the future of the Falkland Islands is up to the people of the Falkland Islands.
“In 2013, the Falkland Islands emphatically told the Argentinian government that they are proud to be British and intend to remain British.
“On a turnout of 92 percent, just three people voted against remaining as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom.
“It is unbelievably boring to have to continuously remind the Argentinian government of this basic, democratic right to self-determination.”
(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)
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