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Lord Cameron’s Falklands visit a provocation, says Argentinian governor

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Published Time: 22.02.2024 - 03:40:30 Modified Time: 22.02.2024 - 03:40:30

Foreign Secretary’s trip denounced amid calls for talks on sovereignty Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire Lord Cameron’s visit to the Falkland Islands has been denounced as a “provocation” by an Argentinian governor

Foreign Secretary’s trip denounced amid calls for talks on sovereignty

: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Lord Cameron’s visit to the Falkland Islands has been denounced as a “provocation” by an Argentinian governor.

His trip on Monday represented the first time a British foreign secretary has visited the region in more than 30 years.

The move was criticised by the leader of the Argentinian region that claims to include what the country refers to as Las Malvinas.

Gustavo Melella, the governor of the Tierra del Fuego, Antarctic and Southern Atlantic Islands, posted on X, formerly Twitter: “The presence of David Cameron on our Malvinas Islands constitutes a new British provocation and seeks to diminish our legitimate sovereignty claims over our territories and maintain colonialism in the 21st century. We will not stand for it.”

The region Mr Melella leads nominally includes offshore territories that Argentina does not control but over which it claims sovereignty, from the British-ruled Falklands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands to a swathe of Antarctica.

Lord Cameron said his visit to the Falklands archipelago, which was the object of a 1982 war between the UK and Argentina, was meant to make clear the territory remained “a valued part of the British family”.

The Foreign Secretary said Britain would “help protect and defend” the islands for as long as they want to remain British. In 2013, more than 99 per cent of Falklanders voted to remain part of the United Kingdom.

Buenos Aires has long claimed the islands on the basis that they should be part of its colonial inheritance from periods of Spanish rule, which ended when Argentina gained independence in 1816.

Lord Cameron, the first Cabinet member to visit the Falklands since 2016 and the first foreign secretary to do so since Douglas Hurd, spoke to Javier Milei, the Argentinian president, about the dispute when the two men met at Davos last month.

After the meeting, Mr Milei said that Lord Cameron would continue talks over the islands with Diana Mondino, Argentina’s foreign minister. They reportedly hit it off during the meeting, bonding over their mutual admiration for the Rolling Stones.

The Foreign Office also said the pair had a “cordial meeting” and that “they would agree to disagree, and do so politely” on the Falklands.

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