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UK claims Argentina escalating Falklands dispute to divert public opinion from economic problems

Thursday, December 19th 2013 - 06:25 UTC
Full article 81 comments
Minister Simmonds made the statements to a parliamentary committee Minister Simmonds made the statements to a parliamentary committee

Britain accused the Argentine government on Tuesday of revving up a dispute over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands to try to divert public opinion attention away from the country's severe economic problems.

 Tensions in the decades-old feud are running high ahead of 2015 elections due in both countries and have been stirred by a row about over whether Argentina has the right to implement domestic legislation on oil and gas firms drilling in the Falklands waters, which Buenos Aires considers integral part of the continental territory.

Foreign Office minister Mark Simmonds told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday that the spat was being used by Argentina's government to distract voters from domestic financial problems.

“I certainly believe that part of the Kirchner government's rhetoric is to try and create a distraction to the ... huge economic problems they have in Argentina,” Simmonds said, referring to the administration of President Cristina Fernandez.

Argentina which is Latin America's third largest economy, has long-term high inflation, dwindling foreign currency reserves and in December suffered a rash of police strikes, and extended looting with a balance of at least 13 deaths and tens of millions of dollars in damage to private and public property.

The Falkland Islands are classed as a British Overseas Territory, which was confirmed in a March referendum with an overwhelming support but Argentina also lays claim to them.

More than three decades after Argentina invaded and was ousted from the Falklands, the sovereignty debate elicits a nationalistic reaction from voters in both countries.

Although it was unusual for a minister to voice the sentiment, the Foreign Office said Simmonds' remarks were consistent with the government's views on Argentina.

Top Comments

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  • Justthefacts

    On the offensive for once instead of just reacting. It's good to see.

    Dec 19th, 2013 - 06:45 am 0
  • Forgetit87


    Dec 19th, 2013 - 06:56 am 0
  • Gordo1

    There is no nationalist “feeling” in Britain over the Falkland Islands - we just take it for granted that the archipelago is populated by people whose wish is to maintain the “status quo”. There is little animosity towards Argentina and the mass of the Argentine people and, in fact, the matter features little in our day to day life. There exists, however, a determination to defend the Falklands against the nonsensical fairy tale and mythical claims that the territory has been usurped by Britain.

    These claims are, of course, nonsense and have no basis in historical truth and, anyway, Argentina tacitly relinquished them by way of Article 7 of the Arana Southern Treaty ratified in 1850.

    The Minister's comments are, of course, “right on the ball”!

    Dec 19th, 2013 - 07:19 am 0
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