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    Soldiers stand next to a map of the Falkland Islands

    Argentina Slams UK for Using Falklands As Pretext to Boost Defense Budget

    © AP Photo / Victor R. Caivano
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    On Tuesday, UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon told the House of Commons that Britain planned to invest up to $260 million in modernizing UK defenses over the next 10 years and maintain the current level of about 1,200 personnel in the Falkland Islands.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Argentina Foreign Ministry has criticized the UK over plans to boost its military presence in the Falkland Islands, accusing Britain of using the disputed archipelago as a pretext to bolster defense spending ahead of a May 7 general election.

    "After the statements by the British Defense Secretary in the country's Parliament, referring to military spending meant for the Falkland Islands, the Argentinian Government reiterates that the dialogue and negotiations, not the weapons, are the only way to solve the issue," the Argentinian Foreign Ministry official statement read.

    The statement added it was "sad and unfortunate" that the Falkland Islands were used as a matter of election campaign in the UK.

    In March 2013, residents of the Falklands almost unanimously voted for the archipelago to remain an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom.

    Argentina has repeatedly claimed the Falklands, about 300 miles off the country's east coast. The dispute saw a 74-day Falklands War in 1982, when Argentina invaded and briefly occupied the islands.

    The armed conflict claimed the lives of some 650 Argentinian and 250 British servicemen, before Argentina conceded.

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    defense budget, Britain, Argentina, Falkland Islands
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