Argentina’s blockade to be discussed in Washington

13 Mar

The Falkland Islands remain in the headlines this week with a flurry of meetings ahead of the 30th anniversary of Argentina’s invasion of the 2nd April 1982.

Jeremy Brown, the Foreign Office Minister, is on a two-day visit to Chile to discuss a number of trade and diplomatic issue, including the blockade of the Falklands imposed illegally by Argentina. “The UK’s position is very clear. We don’t believe that an economic blockade to the Islands is right,” the minister said at a press conference following his meeting with the Chilean Economy Minister, Felipe Larraín.

The regular LANChile flight between Chile and the Falklands is under threat from Argentina which wants to re-write the 1999 agreement that allows it. Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez, threatened the flight’s existence in a speech to the United Nations last September, and has recently claimed that Argentina wants direct flights from Buenos Aires to the British archipelago. This would place far too much power in the hands of an aggressive administration and the Islanders are unlikely to permit it. Fernandez is due to arrive in Chile next week and the issue will be high on her agenda.

David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, is due to go to Washington for a number of meetings with President Obama and it seems likely that the American attitude to the Falklands will be discussed, as well as Argentina’s blockade. The USA’s traditional response is one of neutrality and support for peaceful negotiations although relations between the two men appears to be warming.

Argentina continues to claim that it has historical and geographical rights to the South Atlantic Islands, a claim denied by Britain which has a history with the Falklands predating Argentina’s existence as a State. Argentina has attempted to take the islands by force on two previous occasions, 1832 and 1982.

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