Argentina demands Britain cancels military exercise in the Falklands

The UK government was made aware of the protests when a letter of complaint was delivered to the British ambassador in Buenos Aires. In it the Argentinian foreign minister, Susana Malcorra, declared the exercise scheduled to start later this coming week as “illegitimate” and that “the behaviour of the United Kingdom contradicts the principle of the peaceful settlement of controversies supported unanimously by countries in the region.”

Rapier SAMThe letter also made specific note of British forces conducting live firing tests of a Rapier Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) system. This weapon was responsible for destroying or damaging five Argentine warplanes during the Falklands War in 1982 (the exact figures are disputed but the weapon gained a certain level of notoriety regardless in Argentina).

An MoD spokesperson responded by saying that the exercises were routine being intended to maintain the skills and test the effectiveness of the British garrison that has been guarding the islands since the Argentine invasion 34 years ago. Despite being repelled by a British taskforce the Argentinians maintain a desire to claim the islands for themselves, a cause which has grown in intensity in recent years as oil deposits continue to be found in the region. In January of this year, approximately 500 million barrels worth of oil was discovered in the Elaine oilfield to the north of the islands.

hms-clyde-royal-navy-river-class-offshore-patrol-vessel-opv

HMS Clyde (shipspotting.com)

Mrs Malcorra’s letter is an unfortunate step back in Argentine-UK relations after efforts by both parties in the last year to repair the diplomatic damage caused by the presidency of Cristina Kirchner. President Kirchner launched an aggressive foreign policy against the UK regarding ownership of the islands, going as far as asking the new Argentina-born Pope to intervene in support of her country’s claim. Of considerable concern to the UK during this time were the efforts Buenos Aires took to encourage support for their claim from neighbouring Latin American countries resulting in the British warship HMS Clyde being refused permission to dock in Brazil in 2011 because it was on Falklands protection duties.

The situation became so serious that the Falkland Islanders conducted a referendum in 2013 regarding their future in which they voted overwhelmingly to remain a British overseas territory hoping that this would send a message to the Argentinians that they need to accept their position.

Since the presidency was assumed by Mauricio Macri, the situation has improved with new trade deals covering oil, fishing, navigation and trade in and around the islands between both parties. However it is quite clear that the sovereignty of the islands is still an emotive issue in Argentina and that seems unlikely to change in the near future.

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9 responses to “Argentina demands Britain cancels military exercise in the Falklands

  1. All crap politicians try to divert the spotlight away from their ineptitude by finding somebody to fight and somewhere to invade. Well, so long as Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t get elected, we can feel confident about whatever might happen.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Once again the Argentinians are voicing their annoyance at the Falklands. It’s a popular gripe with every Argentinian government, to raise the ‘Falklands’ issue in order to deflect from their own internal problems. The islander’s consider themselves to be british. The Argentine armed forces are spent. And they will be for a long time – there were even discussions two years ago to purchase Sukhoi 24’s from Russia, nice idea, but the logistics of keeping such complex aircraft flying became problematic. Then De Kirchner got thrown out of office for corruption. She wanted a pact with the Venezuelans to use their Sukhoi 30’s to attack our Typhoons at Mount Pleasant. That didn’t work out because Venezuela tried to take on the US oil industry, and now the country is bankrupt. As long as the legal residents of the Falkland Islands consider themselves to be British, they deserve our protection.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Argentina demands… ? Time for Argentina to drop the mythical Malvinas claim before too many people start laughing. Argentina has never legally owned the Falklands and their claim is bogus. Google: “Falklands – Some Relevant International Law” to find out why.

    Liked by 1 person

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