‘Provocative’ say Argentines as MPs plan visit to Falklands
As MPs prepare to visit, UN chief expresses concern at increasing tensions between UK and Artgentina
ANY HOPES that the simmering tensions between Britain and Argentina over the Falklands would begin to cool have been laid to rest by the news that a group of MPs will visit the islands next month, days before the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War.
The move is set to create even more animosity between the two countries and comes after Argentina complained to the UN that Britain was "militarising" the Atlantic. Britain has sent the HMS Dauntless to the region and posted Prince William there as a search-and-rescue pilot. Argentina has also accused Britain of deploying a nuclear submarine in the region.
This week Hollywood actor Sean Penn took Argentina's side in the row, accusing Britain of "ridiculous colonialism".
Labour MP Thomas Docherty, a member of the Defence Select Committee, which has organised the visit, told The Times: "Given that we have a significant military presence in the Falklands ... it is only right that the defence committee goes and sees first-hand what taxpayers' money is being spent on.
"One of my priorities... this year will be the anniversary. It is important this year that we recognise the sacrifices made."
The paper reports that news of the visit has not gone down well in Argentina, where Juan Mendicino, president of the veterans' association, described it as "another provocation".
Mendicino added: "The only thing that the English think about is war. We don't want visitors from your Parliament. We want the UN to intervene as it has done in disputes across the world."
Tensions are certainly high in the region. The Daily Mail reports that UN general secretary Ban Ki-Moon has expressed "concern about the increasingly strong exchanges" between David Cameron and Argentine president Cristina Kirchner, who was branded a "bitch" by the Falkland Islands newspaper.
And The Guardian notes that the head of the select committee visiting the islands, James Arbuthnot, has hardly been subtle in his recent utterances. Last month he told the House of Commons: "If the Falkland Islands were by any chance to be retaken by Argentina, we would take it back."