News24

Falklands sparks British anger

2010-02-17 18:09

London - A British lawmaker called on Wednesday for Argentina's ambassador to be summoned to the Foreign Office to explain his country's latest order over the disputed Falklands islands.

The secretary of the parliamentary all-party group on the Falklands, Andrew Rosindell, said Argentina should be told not to meddle in the affairs of the islands, the object of a brief war between the two countries in 1982.

"I hope the Foreign Secretary (David Miliband) will call the Argentine ambassador in and tell them this is unacceptable behaviour," said Rosindell.

"It is 28 years since the Falklands War and it has been made clear to Argentina that they have no say over the Falkland Islands or their territorial waters and they should not try to interfere with them."

The comments came after Argentina escalated a row with Britain on Tuesday over oil drilling in the Falklands, by ordering all ships heading to the disputed islands through its waters to seek permission from Buenos Aires first.

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner signed the decree, increasing tensions between Argentina and Britain over Las Malvinas, the Spanish name for the islands they warred over at the cost of almost 1 000 lives.

Mineral reserves

The Foreign Office has sought to play down Argentina's latest move by issuing a statement pointing out the legal position.

"Regulations governing Argentine territorial waters are a matter for the Argentine authorities. This does not affect Falkland Islands territorial waters which are controlled by the island authorities," a statement said.

Rosindell is a member of the opposition Conservative Party, whose leader and then premier Margaret Thatcher sent troops in to seize back the Falklands after the Argentinians invaded.

Kirchner's chief of staff Anibal Fernandez left no doubt the move was intended to clamp down on shipping that might be helping Britain as it launches operations to explore the region's oil and mineral reserves.

Rosindell said Fernandez's comments were "a typical political ploy," adding: "Any attempt by Argentina to claim any sort of rights of sovereignty over that region is something we should take very seriously.

"I don't think we should appease Buenos Aires - we found out what happens last time."