PM Cameron accuses Argentina of colonialism and protectionism ahead of G20
British Prime Minister David Cameron has fired a broadside at Argentina ahead of the opening of the G20 summit in Mexico, accusing the country of colonialism over the Falklands and protectionism in world trade.
The PM said he would use the opportunity presented by the G20 summit to tell Argentine president Cristina Fernandez to her face that she should listen to the people of the Falklands when they say they want to remain British.
He also singled out Argentina for criticism for protectionist trade measures which he identified as one of the five key threats to the world economy.
Relations between Britain and Argentina are in the deep freeze after Buenos Aires tried to use the 30th anniversary of the Falklands conflict to revive its sovereignty claim over the Malvinas.
In a TV interview recorded ahead of the opening session of the G20 summit at which he expects to encounter the Argentine leader, PM Cameron said: The Falkland Islanders have decided to have a referendum. They are going to ask a very simple question of whether they want to continue with the status quo or whether they want to change.
The message to Argentina is very clear - listen to what the people of the Falkland Islands want. We should all believe in this day and age in self-determination, not colonialism.
Asked if he would pass this message directly to Cristina Fernandez, PM Cameron said: Absolutely.”
Cameron is expected to exchange a few words with the Argentine president as the G20 leaders gather for the opening session, but there will be no formal bilateral talks between the UK and Argentina, according to Foreign Office sources.
Britain has rejected calls from Argentina, made by the Argentine president to the UN decolonisation committee last week, for direct talks to discuss the future of the Falklands.
Cameron has said that the UK position is that as long as the Falkland Islanders prefer to remain British and wish no sovereignty talks with Argentina, London will support that position. If Islanders with to establish a dialogue on the issue with Argentina, UK will equally support them.
However the UK and the Falklands are willing to discuss with Argentina issues of common interest such as fisheries, oil and communications.
In a speech to a business audience in summit venue Los Cabos, Mexico, PM Cameron said that G20 countries should be setting an example to the rest of the world by avoiding protectionism, but said Argentina had failed to do so. He cited the case of the nationalisation earlier this year of oil company YPF, which is largely owned by Spanish firm Repsol.