David Cameron walks away from Argentina's G20 Falklands 'stunt'
PM clashes with President Cristina Kirchner and walks away when she offers him a package labelled 'Malvinas'
DAVID CAMERON went head-to-head with Argentina's president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on yesterday over the status of the disputed Falkland Islands.
The two leaders clashed on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Mexico amid high tension between the UK and Argentina following the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War.
Kirchner, who was apparently speaking so fast in Spanish that her interpreter struggled to keep up, tried to hand Cameron a stuffed envelope labelled 'Malvinas' but the PM refused to accept it and walked away.
Kirchner claimed the envelope contained 40 UN resolutions that called for negotiations on the future rule of the island. Argentine officials subsequently branded the Prime Minister a "colonialist", while Cameron claimed he was trying to counter Argentina's "propaganda" about the islands.
Hector Timerman, Argentina's Foreign Minister, told reporters afterwards: "The Prime Minister refused to accept the documents, turned his back and walked away without a farewell.
"After years of acting as a colonial power, they have forgotten that they are responsible for the existence of colonialism, and that it is countries like Argentina that defeated most of the colonial projects in the world."
According to The Daily Telegraph, Cameron had initially approached Kirchner to urge her to respect the results of a forthcoming referendum in which Falkland Islanders are certain to vote against Argentine rule.
He explained: "We should be clear that because there's a referendum there's an opportunity for those countries in the world who have not looked at this issue for a while and have perhaps accepted some of the propaganda put around by Argentina or its supporters to look again at this issue and recognise that the people of these islands should be able to determine their own future.
"It's an important point to make to the Argentine president and an important point to make more widely and that's exactly why I did what I did."
One British official told The Times that Cameron had walked away from Kirchner's proffered letter because "he thought it was a stunt". One of the Argentine officials accompanying Kirchner had a hand-held video camera.
Argentina insists Britain has illegally occupied the islands, which they call Las Islas Malvinas, since 1833. The UK says it wants to stand by the wishes of the island's 3,000-strong population to remain British. ·