Falklands row heats up over UK warship

Falklands row heats up over UK warship

Falklands row heats up over UK warship

Destroyer HMS Dauntless is due to head to the Southern Atlantic on her maiden voyage in the coming months amid rising tension around the Falkland Islands. REUTERS photo

Britain said Jan. 31 it was sending one of its most advanced warships to the disputed Falkland Islands but the move was part of a routine operation, the government said Jan. 31.

Argentina responsed angrily what it called a “militarization” of its dispute with Britain over the Falkland Islands and expressed dismay over the dispatch of Prince William to the zone “in a conqueror’s uniform.” 

“The Argentine Republic rejects the British effort to militarize a conflict which the United Nations has said on multiple occasions should be resolved through bilateral negotiations,” a foreign ministry statement said.

The statement also expressed regret over the news earlier this month that Prince William, second in line to the British throne, would be sent on a six-week mission as a rescue pilot this year in the disputed Falklands, known in Argentina as the Malvinas.

“Prince William is arriving in the Malvinas as a member of the armed forces of his country,” the ministry in Buenos Aires said. “The Argentine people regret that the heir to the throne will come... with a conqueror’s uniform and not with wisdom of a statesman working in the service of peace and dialogue between nations.” 

In London, Ministry of Defense officials said the decision to send HMS Dauntless was long planned. The Type 45 destroyer is due to head to the South Atlantic on her maiden voyage in the coming months to replace HMS Montrose. Prime Minister David Cameron angered Argentina last week by accusing it of “colonialism” over the islands which are a British overseas territory and the object of a long dispute.

 The issue is especially sensitive as the 30th anniversary approaches of the war over the islands between Britain and Argentina. The windswept islands, with about 3,000 inhabitants, have been held by Britain since 1833 though Argentina has maintained its claim over the territory. The United Nations includes the territory on its list of jurisdictions that should be de-colonized through negotiations.

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