Argentina formally complained on Friday about military exercises with missiles that Britain is planning this month in the disputed Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. Argentina's foreign ministry said in a statement that it had sent a letter to the British ambassador Mark Kent demanding the country call off the illegitimate exercises, which are scheduled for Oct. 19-28 and include the launching of Rapier missiles.
A spokeswoman for the British embassy in Buenos Aires called it a routine exercise that takes places about twice a year. The complaint was presented by deputy minister Carlos Foradori. Foreign minister Susana Malcorra is in the Vatican with president Mauricio Macri.
Argentina lodged its complaint just a month after the two countries agreed on a joint statement to work together toward removing measures restricting the oil and gas, shipping and fishing industries on the remote Islands.
Pro-business President Mauricio Macri has sought to improve relations since taking over in December after diplomatic tensions mounted under his predecessor, populist Cristina Fernandez.
Last month Macri claimed he and British Prime Minister Theresa May had agreed, during a brief encounter at the United Nations General Assembly, to discuss the Falklands' sovereignty claim. However after Britain denied the issue Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra explained the remarks, in an encounter of less than a minute, had been taken out of context.
In Friday's statement, the foreign ministry said it had learned of the planned military exercises on Thursday. It said the exercises contradict the principle of peaceful conflict resolution and called the Falklands Argentine territory illegitimately occupied by the United Kingdom.
In last month's agreement, the two sides also agreed to improve air links between the Falklands and third countries in South America.
The last bout of serious tension over the Falklands occurred in June last year when an Argentine federal judge ordered the seizure of millions of dollars in assets owned by oil drillers operating in the area.
Argentina has for decades claimed sovereignty over the British-run islands and the dispute led to a brief war in 1982 when the Argentine military invaded and occupied the Islands during 74 days.
However the overwhelming majority of the Islands' 3,000 inhabitants say they want to remain a British overseas