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Montevideo, October 22nd 2016 - 11:42 UTC

Falklands vessels can re-flag and operate in Mercosur ports, says Hague

Friday, January 20th 2012 - 08:19 UTC
Full article 62 comments
Mercosur member and associate countries do not recognize the Falklands flag Mercosur member and associate countries do not recognize the Falklands flag

Ships from the Falkland Islands that are barred from ports in Argentina and other Mercosur trade bloc countries can re-flag as British ships at any time to avoid the ban, British Foreign Secretary William Hague told reporters in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.

There is no legal barrier to ships registered in Stanley, Falkland Islands, from sailing under the British flag rather than the flag of the Falklands, a largely self-governing British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic, Hague said.

Argentina claims sovereignty over the Falkland Islands. A military government invaded the Islands in 1982 only to be expelled after a two-month war with Britain. The defeat was followed by the collapse of the military government helping speed the return of democracy and civilian rule in Argentina.

Last month, Argentina convinced its partners in the Mercosur trade bloc - Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, as well as associate member Chile - to ban Falkland Islands-flagged vessels from entering their ports.

“It is clear that ships flying the British flag should have access to ports in South America as they would in any other part of the world” Hague said on a visit to Brazil.

Ships flying the British flag have reciprocal port entry rights under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea that are also granted to Mercosur countries, he said.

The Falkland Islands' ensign has a British Union Jack on a blue field with the Falkland Islands coat of arms.

”Argentina has tried to increase tension (with this ban),“ Hague said. ”All they will get is increased tension.”

When asked if the ability of Falkland Islands ships to re-flag as British ships made the ban meaningless, Hague nodded yes.

Hague discussed the Falklands issue in Brazil's capital of Brasilia on Wednesday but the Brazilian government said it backed Argentina in the sovereignty dispute and would apply the shipping ban.

Top Comments

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  • Teaboy2

    There you go argentina, your banning of falkland vessels is meaningless as they can still enter port using the british flag. Ban the british flag an your asking for serious international condemnation and sanctions being imposed on you.

    So whats your next move Argentina? Stopping the Lan flights will have no effect on the islanders but will simply stop argentines visiting the islands. So banning Lan would be like shooting yourself in the foot. It would appear the only course of action you have is to carry on with nothing but verbal outbursts, or if your really stupid you could attempt another invasion, though we all know the only real reason why you ruled out military action, is simply because you do not have the military assets or equipment to take the islands let alone hang on to them.

    Jan 20th, 2012 - 09:37 am 0
  • ElaineB

    I wonder how many Argentines realise just how much time their President wastes on meanless policies. Her time would be better spent elsewhere.

    Jan 20th, 2012 - 10:01 am 0
  • Sir Rodderick Bodkin

    Then we start banning british flagged vessels :-)

    Jan 20th, 2012 - 10:30 am 0
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