In the midst of Argentina’s campaign for the October presidential election, Defence minister Arturo Puricelli accused the UK of using military force to keep “the Falkland Islanders as hostages” and said Argentina won’t fall prey of “militaristic” provocations.
“Only force sustains the fact they can keep hostage the 2.000 ‘malvinenses’ (Islanders), condemning them to isolation and submission when they are 14.000 kilometres away from their political reference in London”, said Arturo Puricelli, joining the chorus of Argentine statements responding to UK Defence Secretary Liam Fox.
Puricelli added that Secretary Fox statements only reveal the fact that “England has no reason (in the sovereignty dispute) because they appeal to power and threat of force”.
On Monday Liam Fox said that “in the face of renewed Argentine pressure over the Falklands’ issue, the UK has the political will and military means to defend the Islands”.
Liam Fox added that Argentine politicians can “huff and puff” but this will “not change our resolve politically to retain the independence and the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands nor to come to their defence and to maintain deterrence as best we can”.
Minister Puricelli stated that “Argentina will not fall prey of the provocations from an English minister to try and move us from our position which is to continue with our claim according to International Law”.
On Monday an official release from the Argentine Foreign Affairs ministry said that by choosing to ignore the international community’s calls to negotiate the Falklands/Malvinas Islands sovereignty, “the British Government continues to show its contempt over international law”.
This exchange follows on last week’s war of words when President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner described the UK as “a crude colonial power in decadence” and PM David Cameron’ statement on support of the Falklands sovereignty as “arrogant, fringing on stupidity”.
Questioned in Parliament PM Cameron said that “as long as the Falkland Islands want to be a sovereign British territory, they should remain sovereign British territory—full stop, end of story”.
Defence Secretary Fox speaking before the UK Reform think-tank on defence issues said that “we have Typhoons already stationed there (Falklands). We have a very clear message that we have both the naval power if necessary, and certainly any intent to ensure that the Falkland Islands are kept free and their people enjoy the liberation we fought so hard for 30 years ago“.
In reply Minister Puricelli said that “when you lack legitimate rights founded on Law, history and geography, the only argument left to retain the Malvinas Islands is force”.
But he added that it is going to be increasingly difficult for the UK to keep the overseas enclave, since it has “2,000 Islanders hostages of its obstinate strategic motives”.
Further on Puricelli argued that turning the South Atlantic into a fortress is “a provocation” for Argentina and the whole of Latin America.
Puricelli alleged that the British “have increased the strength of their forces in the Islands because of the weakness of their arguments to occupy the Islands”.
The British attitude is going to generate further distrust: “in the zone there is an only extra-continent actor fully armed and which only reveals the irrationality of the British occupation of the Malvinas Islands”.