UK

UK Falklands military exercises 'provoke' Argentina

  • 12 April 2014
  • From the section UK
Mount Longdon, near Stanley
The Falkland Islands are one of 14 remaining British overseas territories

Argentina has accused the UK of provocation over plans to hold military exercises in the Falkland Islands.

It said drills by British forces would include missile launches and were part of a "pattern" of "hostile acts".

The British ambassador in Buenos Aires has been summoned by Argentina's deputy foreign minister, who will protest over the "new show of military force".

The UK Foreign Office dismissed the claims as "fanciful" and said next week's exercises were "routine".

Argentina lays claim to the islands, which it calls Las Malvinas, and said the UK planned to conduct the exercises on "occupied Argentine territory" between 14 and 27 April.

'Wholly false'

A spokesman for the Argentine embassy in London said: "This action is a new example of UK's disregard for United Nations resolutions, which call on both parties to resume negotiations over sovereignty and refrain from introducing unilateral modifications in the situation as long as the dispute persists."

British forces in the Falklands
Britain's war with Argentina over the Falklands cost the lives of 255 British servicemen and about 655 Argentines
Argentine veterans gather at a cathedral
Argentine veterans gathered earlier this month at a ceremony to honour those who died in the 1982 war

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has called the islands "Nato's military base" in the region.

But a spokesman for the UK Foreign Office said the planned exercises took place at least twice year, if not every few months, and had been carried out for many years.

"Argentine claims that we are 'militarising' the South Atlantic are wholly false," the Foreign Office said.

"UK forces numbers have declined to the minimum necessary to defend the islands.

"Argentina's suggestion that the UK is seeking to threaten militarily either Argentina itself or the wider region is entirely without foundation, as is the suggestion that we deploy nuclear weapons in the region."

A total of 255 British servicemen and about 650 Argentines died in the conflict following the Argentine invasion of the islands on 2 April 1982.

Last year, Falkland Islanders took part in a referendum, voting by 1,513 to three to remain a British overseas territory.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said at the time that the result "could not have sent a clearer message".

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