Britain rejected point blank the suggestion that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit will help Argentina's claim over the Falkland Islands. The Prime Minister official spokeswoman said there was no doubt Britain’s “relationships” with all of its overseas territories would remain in place after March 2019.
The strong statement follows on remarks by visiting Argentina’s Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie after a meeting last Friday with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Faurie in an interview with UK and Argentine media suggested that Argentina would seek to ”enhance” its position as EU member states would no longer have to support the UK’s claim to the Falklands.
“Our planning for Malvinas is to have a negotiation that will enable stronger relations between the people on the Islands and the people on the Continent. And we hope that the non-Brexit solution will enhance the possibility of that dialogue to be truly one with results.”
Faurie added: “If you think member states (of the EU) would not sustain the Malvinas claim in favor of the UK, we are there … to talk, to negotiate, to see what would be the best solution for the people in the islands to be much more in touch with Argentina.”
The European Union’s Duty of Sincere Cooperation obliges member states to support each other on claims of sovereignty.
But the spokeswoman said: “I think I would just say that the Falklands remain an overseas territory of the UK after we leave the EU - as will all our overseas territories. We are clear that all our overseas territories will retain their current relationship with the UK after we leave the EU.
Nevertheless despite the controversy the PM’s official spokeswoman insisted Mr Faurie had also spoken “very positively about our bilateral relationship”.
Theresa May is due to visit Argentina and President Mauricio Macri next month at the G20 Summit – in the first visit by a British PM to the country since 2001.
“Obviously the PM will be in Argentina in the coming weeks so she will discuss a number of issues including the EU exit with foreign leaders there.”
However despite the conciliatory words from both sides to overcome the incident, minister Faurie did send a protest letter to the Daily Telegraph complaining the heading of the interview did not reflect his statements. The Telegraph heading said that Argentina is trying to exploit the situation to enhance efforts to pull the Falklands away from the UK”. The letter from Faurie was supported with a recording of the full interview.