Ambassador to London, Alicia Castro, assured that the Malvinas-Olympic Games advert bought by the Argentine Government ‘is not a provocation’ and did not mean to offend the memory of First World War British combatants.
Castro became the first Argentine official to speak about the controversial advert, which features Argentine hockey team captain Fernando Zylberberg training in the Falkland Islands for the upcoming London Olympics.
The 90-second ad was made to coincide with the run up to the Olympic Games in London this summer and ends with the voice-over: to compete on English soil, we are training on Argentine soil.
In an interview with Salta province newspaper El Tribuno published on the Saturday edition, the Ambassador stressed that the ad “is not a provocation” and denied that in the scene in which the athlete is running up stairs that are part of First World War memorial aimed to offend anybody.
“I think that it is pretty obvious that nobody had the intention of offending the memory of First World War British soldiers. It is simply an athlete who used his opportunity to train and ran up the staircase”.
”Furthermore, this has given the British Government the chance to say things that are not related to this particular fact, like saying that Argentina is trying to conceal some stumble it suffered in a summit,” regarding the dialogue claim over Malvinas islands sovereignty.
“In all the summits we have attended we have received wide support. This includes the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), Celac, Mercosur, Ibero-American summit, of the Group 77 and China and Arab countries; we have received more and more support on our Malvinas claim,” Castro underlined.
The Argentine Malvinas-Olympics has triggered strong reactions from the Falklands, Britain, the International Olympic Committee and world public opinion, since it is seen as a breach of the Olympics spirit and rules which specifically calls for no politics involvement in the Games.
British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond was among the UK officials strongly condemning the advert broadcast.
It's tasteless, it's provocative and very insulting to the many British soldiers, sailors and airmen who gave their lives protecting the Falklands, Hammond told Sky TV.
I think it's a breach of one of the fundamental principles of the Olympics - that politics are set aside, that nobody should exploit the Olympic logo, the Olympic message for political purposes and I hope the IOC will be looking at that.
He stopped short of calling for Argentina to be banned from the Games but added: I think at the very least the Argentines should withdraw that video and apologize for it.
The advert is the latest of a series of diplomatic clashes between London and Buenos Aires over the past year, which has intensified since oil companies started a successful round of oil and gas exploration offshore the Falklands, plus the fact that this year is the 30th anniversary of the Falklands invasion by Argentine military forces, ousted 74 days later by a British Task Force.