Falklands row grows with boycott dispute
Cars pass by a sign that reads ‘The Malvinas (Falklands) are Argentina.’ Tension is rising between UK and Argentina before the 30th anniversary of Falklands War. REUTERS photoBritain summoned Argentina’s envoy on Feb. 29 to explain a minister’s proposed boycott of British goods and a decision to stop two cruise ships from docking in the country, as tensions rose over the disputed Falkland Islands.
“Given our concerns over the recent incidents with the cruise ships in Ushuaia, and now these latest reports, we summoned the Argentine charge (d’affairs) this afternoon for an explanation,” a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.
She said Britain had called on the European Union to lodge a collective protest with Buenos Aires. Argentine Industry Minister Debora Giorgi urged at least 20 business leaders on Feb. 28 to replace British imports with ones from countries that respect Argentina’s sovereignty claims over the Falklands.
Two British-linked cruise ships that had visited the Falklands, known in Argentina as the Malvinas, were denied permission to dock in Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego province on Feb. 27.
The Foreign Office called in Argentina’s charge d’affaires, Osvaldo Marsico, to explain the situation. Tensions between London and Buenos Aires were rising before the 30th anniversary of a 10-week war they fought after Argentina invaded the South Atlantic archipelago, a British overseas territory over which it has a sovereignty claim. London has refused to start talks demanded by Buenos Aires over the islands’ sovereignty unless the 3,000 Falklands residents call for them, which they show no signs of doing.
Buenos Aires issued a statement on Feb. 29 saying it was “pleased to see that Britain has finally gone to a forum (the EU) to look for a solution to the Malvinas question.” After Britain’s call, the EU said it will take “appropriate” steps to settle a trade row over the Falklands. “The EU will be taking appropriate diplomatic steps to clarify these legitimate trade concerns,” said EU trade spokesman John Clancy.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron said Giorgi’s proposed boycott of British goods was “counter-productive and also a complete misreading of Britain’s resolve on this issue.”
“We are also a major investor in Argentina and we import goods from Argentina. It is not in Argentina’s economic interest to put up barriers. The right approach here is one of cooperation not confrontation,” he said.
Compiled from Reuters and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.