Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Duke's deployment 'not provocative'

The Duke of Cambridge will be posted to the Falklands with the RAF Search and Rescue force for six weeks

The Chief of the Defence Staff has denied sending the Duke of Cambridge to the Falkland Islands was designed to provoke Argentina.

William, a Flight Lieutenant with the RAF, will deploy to the remote outcrop in the South Atlantic for six weeks next year to fly search and rescue helicopter missions.

But Argentine official Sebastian Brugo Marco said the country could not ignore the "political" implications of his move, which comes shortly before the 30th anniversary of Argentina's defeat in the Falklands, to which it lays claim and calls Las Malvinas.

Mr Marco said: "It is one more provocative act that shows Britain's military presence in a zone of peace where there is no armed conflict."

Britain's armed forces' chief General Sir David Richards today dismissed the claims, saying: "I can absolutely tell you it wasn't and isn't designed to be."

He stressed William's deployment was routine for an RAF Sea King pilot, pointing out Prince Harry was sent to Afghanistan as a forward air controller in 2008.

Gen Richards said: "Prince William, along with his brother Prince Harry, is a regular member of the armed forces and they do their stint in the roster that comes all our ways."

He told Sky News' Murnaghan programme relations between the UK and Argentina were "pretty constructive" and better today than when war broke out in 1982.

He added: "There has been no warlike talk from Argentina.

"They clearly disagree with us over the Falkland Islands but we're all determined not to repeat the mistakes of 1982."

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