Minister denounces Falklands ‘blockade’

A FOREIGN Office minister has denounced Argentina’s “economic blockade” of the Falklands, as Britain seeks to build relations with other countries in the region.

Speaking in Chile during a week-long visit to Latin America, Jeremy Browne insisted the UK did not want a dispute with Buenos Aires but was committed to the islanders’ right to self-determination.

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His visit comes at a sensitive time, with tensions between Britain and Argentina over the islands rising as the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War approaches.

The Foreign Office insists that Mr Browne’s trip – which will also take in Colombia and Peru – is not connected to the dispute and will cover a wide range of other issues.

However, his appearance in the Chilean capital, Santiago, will be followed by Argentine president, Cristina Kirchner, who arrives tomorrow. All three countries Mr Browne is visiting are members of the Mercosur bloc which last year agreed to bar Falklands-flagged ships from their ports.