A newspaper report that the Falkland Islands were to be discussed in top level talks during a mystery mission to several Latin American countries by British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Special envoy, Lord Levy, has been categorically denied by British Government Officials, who ridiculed the report. Mercopress was told : The story is wrong, false, made-up, and any other such adjective you care to use.
The facts of the visit, which has now been postponed, are in dispute as both the Foreign Office and the Prime Minister's Office in Ten Downing Street challenged the newspaper's report that his itinerary included Argentina to discuss the Falkland Islands and Chile to repair relations after the General Pinochet arrest. Officials said the countries to be visited were Mexico, Venezuela, Uruguay and Ecuador.
The story was published by the Mail on Sunday after its Political Editor sought advice from the Mercopress London and Buenos Aires Correspondents on what the mission could be about. The Prime Minister's Press Office appeared reluctant to talk about the postponed visit, and vague on the details. A Prime Minister's spokesman denied it was secret. When Mercopress pointed out that the visit had not been announced, he replied: "That does not mean it is secret. If it was secret, I would not be discussing it with you".
According to the Mail on Sunday, Lord Levy's programme included Argentina on July 16th, Uruguay on the 18th, Chile on the 19th and Ecuador(23rd), following an earlier visit to Mexico on July 7th and Venezuela on the 12th, to have talks with the Heads of State of all six nations." British Embassies throughout Latin America were ordered to roll out the red carpet for Levy, who was to stay at the ambassador's official residence in each country". A Government official said Lord Levy would have set foot in Argentina only to change planes to go to Uruguay.
Multi- Millionaire Lord Levy, an accountant by profession, has been the centre of political controversy in Britain over newspaper reports that despite his wealth, he has, quite legally, paid comparatively little tax in recent years, and also because of his unusual role as the Prime Minister's special foreign affairs envoy, especially on Middle East problems, now apparently to be extended to Latin America.
Government officials said the visit had been postponed because of extraordinary media interest in Lord Levy, whereas the newspaper claimed it was postponed "after details were leaked to the Mail on Sunday by diplomats furious at (Lord Levy's) role in the Government ...The disclosure that Blair had planned to extend Levy's role as a special e