Peruvian Foreign Affairs minister Rafael Roncagliolo denied President Ollanta Humala had accepted an invitation to visit London next month, Lima’s El Comercio reported Tuesday in the front page.
The news comes amid cross-Atlantic tensions over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands and following the Peruvian government’s decision to void the permit given for the HMS Montrose to dock in the El Callao port this week.
According to Peruvian news service Andina, Humala will not be travelling to the UK “at least for the near future,” and in addition, confirmed that the Peruvian Head of State will visit Argentina in May instead.
The invitation for Humala to visit the UK in April was given during Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne’s visit to Peru, where he met with the Peruvian president and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Rafael Roncagliolo to try to strengthen ties between the two countries.
On Monday the Peruvian government announced its decision to disallow the protocol visit of the British HMS Montrose scheduled to dock in a Peruvian port this week in a labelled, show of Latin American support for Argentina’s legitimate rights.
From London the Foreign Office “regretted” the Peruvian government decision to cancel the HMS Montrose frigate’s stopover at El Callao port.
The ship is commissioned to normal South Atlantic deployment and was patrolling until last week in the area of the Falklands and South Georgia Islands.
“The HMS Montrose was scheduled to make a short visit to Peru as part of a routine deployment to the region. This was agreed as an act of friendship and cooperation between Peru and the UK,” an FCO spokesperson in London.
In response to Peru's recent turnaround decision, David Cameron’s government further stated that “ship visits are a sovereign decision for states, but we regret that Peru has revoked its previous agreement to this visit.
The UK government also said that following Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne's visit to Peru last week, the decision was made despite the Peruvian Government having had the opportunity on Friday to raise any concerns it had about this agreed cooperation.”
Browne last week made a round of visit to South American Pacific countries beginning with Chile, followed by Colombia and Peru. In Santiago he arrived two days before Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez arrived for an official two day visit.
The announcement of Peru’s government to void their already approved entry for the Montrose frigate to El Callao port in the country was made by Peru’s Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo, in a bid to further underline Peru’s support for Argentina in the Falklands’ sovereignty issue.
The UK Government responded and stated that they “remain fully committed to the Falkland Islanders' right to self determination. This position will not change.”
Carolina Barros from The Buenos Aires Herald which on Monday had the breaking news on HMS Montrose visit to Peru that sent all alarm bells ringing further indicated some details regarding Peru-UK relations.
It was “the Peruvian Congress, at the request of the Executive Branch, that had approved in its Defence Committee the invitation to the Montrose and its 183-strong crew (complete with artillery and missiles) to moor in El Callao from March 22 to 26. They were also in the dark as to the rapprochement between Lima and London as to arms co-operation (the “memorandum of understanding on defence industry co-operation” signed late last September between both countries)”.
Finally Argentina and other Unasur members “had no idea that Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne, while passing through Peru last week, had invited President Ollanta Humala to visit London in April, according to Peru’s official news agency Andina in its cable AND404449 dated March 16”.