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    A child plays at the Malvinas Falklands War Memorial in Ushuaia, Argentina. file photo

    Argentine Tempers Flare Over UK Drills on Falklands Despite Economic Deal

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    Britain's move to hold military drills on the disputed Falkland Islands runs counter to all international norms, former Argentine Ambassador to London Alicia Castro told Sputnik.

    In an interview with Sputnik, Alicia Castro, former Argentine Ambassador to London, lashed out at the upcoming British military exercises on the disputed Falkland Islands, which she said are out of line with all international norms.

    The interview came a day before the beginning of the UK drills in the area, which will be held between October 19 and October 28.

    Despite British control of the Falkland Islands, Argentina also lays claim to the archipelago, which it calls Las Malvinas.

    The long-running dispute led to the Falklands War of 1982, when Argentine forces briefly occupied the islands, before being forced out in a short, but bloody war with British forces, which claimed the lives of 900 people.

    Speaking to Sputnik, Alicia Castro said that "the United Kingdom openly violates all current international norms in this field, as well as the relevant UN resolutions."

    "The British military exercises in the Malvinas water zone jeopardize the safety of maritime activities," she added.

    In addition, Castro slammed the position of the Argentine government, citing, in particular, a delayed and formal response from the country's Foreign Ministry.

    "They reacted only after the news about the drills hit the headlines and spread to social networks, which, in turn, prompted the Argentine government's reaction," she said.

    "I believe that the Argentines realize the fact that our government is unable to protect the country's sovereignty or respond to unilateral action by the UK," Castro added.

    She blamed the Argentine government for adjusting its policy in line with that of the UK, referring to what she described as the "false" bilateral agreement signed on September 13.

    Under the agreement, the sides pledged to make joint efforts to lift restrictions which hinder economic growth and sustainable development on the disputed islands, especially in the field of hydrocarbons, fisheries and shipping.

    "The deal actually prevents Argentina from making the UK sit down at the negotiating table," Castro concluded.

    Late last week, media reports said that Argentina's Foreign Ministry summoned British Ambassador Mark Kent to its office in order to deliver him a formal note complaining of the military exercises due be held in the area.

    Buenos Aires claims that it inherited the Malvinas from Spain in 1816, while British officials point to London's continuous administration of the archipelago since 1833.

    The majority of the islands' 2,900-3,000 inhabitants are of British descent; a 2013 referendum on the sovereignty of the islands resulted in 99.8 percent of the population voting in favor of continuing to see the Falklands as a British overseas territory.


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    sovereignty, policy, government, international norms, resolutions, drills, Falkland Islands, United Kingdom, Argentina
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