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Argentina protests to Britain about military exercises in Falklands

Illegitimate exercises involving missile firing contradict the principle of peaceful conflict resolution says note to UK ambassador

Argentina has complained to the British ambassador in Buenos Aires over military exercises including missile launches which the UK is planning to hold next week in the Falkland Islands.

Argentinas government says it was informed by Britain that the exercises will be held between 19 and 28 October, and will include the launching of Rapier missiles.

In the note presented by the deputy foreign minister, Carlos Foradori, to Ambassador Mark Kent on Friday, Argentina asked Britain to call off the illegitimate exercises.

The behaviour of the United Kingdom contradicts the principle of the peaceful settlement of controversies supported unanimously by countries in the region, the note said.

A spokeswoman for the British embassy in Buenos Aires called it a routine exercise that takes places about twice a year.

Argentina has for decades claimed sovereignty over the British-run islands it calls the Malvinas and the dispute led to a brief war in 1982. The overwhelming majority of the islands 3,000 inhabitants say they want the islands to remain a British overseas territory.

Argentina lodged its complaint just a month after the two countries agreed to work together toward removing measures restricting the oil and gas, shipping and fishing industries on the remote islands.

Argentinas pro-business president, Mauricio Macri, has sought to improve relations since taking over in December after diplomatic tensions mounted under his predecessor, the populist Cristina Fernndez de Kirchner.

But in a blunder that embarrassed the administration last month, Macri claimed he and the British prime minister, Theresa May, had agreed, during a brief encounter at the United Nations general assembly, to discuss the sovereignty claim.

Argentinas foreign minister, Susana Malcorra, later walked back the remarks after Britain denied that the issue of sovereignty had come up.

In Fridays statement, the foreign ministry said it had learned of the planned military exercises on Thursday. It said the exercises contradict the principle of peaceful conflict resolution and called the Falklands Argentinian territory illegitimately occupied by the United Kingdom.

In last months agreement, the two sides also agreed to establish additional flights between the Falklands, located about 435 miles off the coast of southern Argentina, and third countries in South America.

The last bout of serious tension over the Falklands occurred in June last year when an Argentinian federal judge ordered the seizure of millions of dollars in assets owned by oil drillers operating in the area.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/14/argentina-protests-britain-military-exercises-falklands