Britain condemns Argentinian Falklands Olympic ad
LONDON - Agence France-Presse
A union flag is waved as HMS Dauntless as she leaves port in Portsmouth. HMS Dauntless set sail for a six-month deployment to the South Atlantic, including a patrol of the Falkland Islands. REUTERS/Luke MacGregorBritain's foreign minister William Hague today described a TV advert showing an Argentinian Olympic hopeful training on a British war memorial in the Falklands as a "stunt".
Hague accused Argentina of trying to misuse the 2012 London Olympics for political purposes by making the advert, which was aired as tensions run high between the two countries as they mark the 30th anniversary of the war over the islands.
The advert shows Argentina hockey captain Fernando Zylberberg running through the Falklands capital Stanley, and exercising on the island's Great War Memorial, which honours British sailors who died in World War I.
The advert calls the islands by their Argentinian name, the Malvinas, and carries the tagline: "To compete on English soil, we train on Argentinian soil." Produced by the Argentine presidency, the commercial claims it is a "homage to the fallen and ex-combatants" of the 1982 Falklands War over the islands.
Hague told Sky News television: "Argentina has had some diplomatic setbacks in the last few weeks.
"They have failed at a summit of the Americas to get other countries -- South and North America -- to issue a declaration on the Falkland Islands.
"I think what is happening is they are looking for one or two stunts to try and make up for that or save a bit of pride somehow.
"But I don't think trying to misuse the Olympics in some way for political purposes will go down very well with other countries.
"Of course, it doesn't change our position on the Falkland Islands. We will always support the right to self-determination of the people of the Falkland Islands." The Foreign Office also criticised the advert as an attempt to exploit and politicise the Games and condemned the film-makers for "insensitivity and disrespect" in using a war memorial as a prop.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are saddened at this attempt by Argentina to exploit the Games. The Olympics is about sport and not politics.
"The people of the Falklands are British and have chosen to be so. They remain free to chose their own futures both politically and economically and have a right to self-determination." The Falklands War, which began with an invasion of the islands by Argentine forces, ended in their defeat and the deaths of 649 Argentine and 255 British troops.