Argentina livid as MPs head to Falklands

Prince William and his crew prepare for their first sortie of a six week deployment in the Mount Pleasant Complex, on the Falkland Islands.
Prince William and his crew prepare for their first sortie of a six week deployment in the Mount Pleasant Complex, on the Falkland Islands.

By Ian Dunt

The tit-for-tat series of diplomatic escalations over the Falklands continued today, after Buenos Aires reacted angrily to news that British MPs were heading to the islands.

Members of the defence select committee will visit military installations on the archipelago later this year, in what is likely to be branded a military event by Argentina.

"The English Parliament should leave us alone. This is another provocation. We are not idiots,” Juan Mendicino, president of the association representing Falklands veterans, was quoted as saying in the Times.

The South American country has already criticised the replacement of a destroyer with HMS Dauntless and attacked the deployment of Prince William as a search-and-rescue pilot.

It has also suggested Britain has positioned a nuclear submarine in the area.

There are over 1,000 British troops stationed at Mount Pleasant Complex, 35 miles from capital Stanley.

"If the Falkland Islands were by any chance to be retaken by Argentina, we would take it back," defence committee chair James Arbuthnot told the House magazine last month.

Others fear the decommissioning of HMS Ark Royal, leaving Britain without an operational aircraft carrier until at least 2020, has exposed the UK's inability to lead a substantial task force to the South Atlantic should another invasion of the islands occur.

For its part, Argentina has tried to galvanise world opinion in its direction, lobbying its regional trade group to boycott boats with Falklands flags and demanding UN-backed talks on sovereignty.
 

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