The visit of four Uruguayan lawmakers to the Falkland Islands is receiving ample coverage from the Argentine media particularly the intention of closer links between Montevideo and the Islands including the possibility of sending Uruguayan manpower as well as promoting trade, tourism, culture and social relations
Repots indicate that the eight elected members of the Legislative Assembly in a meeting with their visiting counterparts expressed an interest in Uruguayan involvement in the oil industry, fisheries and even possibly a direct air link, thus helping to improve the Falklands international connectivity.
The Uruguayan delegation is made up of members from the opposition: Jaime Trobo and Daniel Mañana, the main opposition party; Fitzgerald Cantero from the Partido Colorado and Ivan Posada, Independent party.
A fifth traveler, Jorge Pozzi belonging to one of the middle of the road groups that make up the Uruguayan ruling coalition, had to step down at last moment on instructions from his leadership that feared 'influencing the good atmosphere between Argentina and Uruguay', allegedly worked out in a recent regional summit in Cuba.
”They (Falklands) are well aware that there is a political problem, but this does not impede us from strengthening relations, said Jaime Trobo who added that Assembly members indicated there are 300 Chileans working in the Falklands, why not Uruguayans also?.
They would like to see hundreds of Uruguayans in areas such as the oil industry, infrastructure, logistics, fisheries support, tourism in summer months with the cruise vessels, Trobo was quoted.
He added that the possibility of an air link was also addressed: a Montevideo/Stanley would not take more than two and a half hours, while currently the lawmakers had to travel to Santiago de Chile, where they spent the night, and then early morning to Punta Arenas in the extreme south of Chile, and after midday to the Falklands. Once a month the air link calls at Rio Gallegos, Argentina.
Trobo mentioned that educations and medical services are two other areas where there could be close collaboration, as it used to be in the past, when many Falklands' children went to school in Montevideo, and patients were cared at the British Hospital. This could significantly reduce costs of flying to Great Britain.
Uruguay has great potential to provide services in medical attention and education; we can be good neighbors, cooperate with no need to get involved in sovereignty discussion”, said Trobo.