Following diplomatic discussions with Uruguay and Brazil, the British Foreign Secretary, in a statement today confirmed that neither of those Countries would become involved in the economic blockade being conducted by Argentina against the Falkland Islanders, and that shipping using the Falklands flag were just an entitled to use the British Red Ensign.
Argentina had persuaded some of its neighbours to support its own ban on vessels flying the Falklands flag, and registered with the Islands’ Shipping Register, a part of the Red Ensign Group. Uruguay, Brazil and Chile had then indicated their unwillingness to allow such craft into their ports, but following discussions have made it plain that ships flying the red ensign are welcome.
In a move that has effectively neutralised the Argentine strategy, ships may now fly the Falklands flag right up to the port they are heading for, and, with a quick switch, be welcomed.
There is no legal barrier to ships registered in Stanley, from sailing under the British flag rather than the flag of the Falklands, a largely self-governing British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic, Hague said yesterday in a news conference held at Rio de Janeiro; “It is clear that ships flying the British flag should have access to ports in South America as they would in any other part of the world,”.
He also pointed out that ships flying the British flag have reciprocal port entry rights under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea that are also granted to Mercosur countries.
“Argentina has tried to increase tension (with this ban),” Hague said, “All they will get is increased tension”