UK denies preparing for new Falklands war
BRITAIN has insisted it is not “militarising” the south Atlantic in preparation for a fresh conflict over the Falklands after claims by Argentina that one of the UK’s Vanguard submarines has been sent to the area.
The inflammatory remarks, in the run up to the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War, were made by foreign minister Hector Timerman who claimed he had “information” that British submarines were in the area.
He called on the United Nations to intervene to diffuse escalating tensions between the two countries.“Thus far the UK refuses to say whether it is true or not. Are there nuclear weapons or are there not? The information Argentina has is that there are these nuclear weapons,” said Timerman.
He also said Britain was using an “unjustified defence of self-determination” to maintain a military base on the Falklands, which allowed it to dominate the Atlantic.
“It is perhaps the last refuge of a declining empire,” he told journalists in New York. “It is perhaps the last ocean that is controlled by the UK.”
He said Britain had been “colonialist throughout [its] history”, and should now follow the advice of Beatles legend John Lennon and “give peace a chance”.
But at a separate press conference immediately afterwards, Britain’s ambassador to the UN, Sir Mark Lyall Grant said the government did “not comment on the disposition of nuclear weapons, submarines etc”.
He branded the idea that the UK was “militarising” the region “manifestly absurd”.
“Before 1982 there was a minimal defence presence in the Falkland Islands,” he said. “It is only because Argentina illegally invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982 that since then we had to increase our defence posture. Nothing has changed in that defence posture.”
Sir Mark said the UK had been in the Falklands since before Argentina existed, and the islanders were entitled to self-determination under the UN charter. Tensions between the two nations have been growing over recent months, with David Cameron and Argentinian president Cristina Kirchner trading barbs. The UK has insisted that the deployment of HMS Dauntless, to the region is merely routine.
The Duke of Cambridge’s arrival in the Falklands for a posting as an RAF search and rescue pilot has further infuriated Buenos Aires.
There were protests after the website of a Falklands newspaper ran a photo of Kirchner labelled “bitch”
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