Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Prayers mark Falklands anniversary

Margaret Allen, widow of Able Seaman Iain Boldy, lights a candle in memory of those killed in the Falklands
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said Britain would 'robustly' defend the Falklands against any attack

The 30th anniversary of the invasion of the Falkland Islands has been marked by both war widows' prayers and a renewed push by Argentina for control of the territory.

As a single candle was lit during a service to remember the 255 UK serviceman killed in retaking the remote South Atlantic islands, the diplomatic battle showed no signs of abating.

Despite Prime Minister David Cameron's insistence that the islanders must be allowed to choose their nationality status, his counterpart in Buenos Aires renewed her push to wrestle back control.

Leading her country's commemorations of the conflict - which cost the lives of 649 Argentines - president Christina Fernandez de Kirchner said Britain's stance was "ridiculous and absurd".

She called for talks on ending the "unjust" situation - something London has ruled out for as long as no change is demanded by the islanders themselves.

Mr Cameron - who like Ms Kirchner included the enemy dead in his anniversary message - insisted Britain was no less committed now to than in 1982 to protecting the right to self-determination.

"Britain remains staunchly committed to upholding the right of the Falkland Islanders, and of the Falkland Islanders alone, to determine their own future," he said.

The political tensions provided a backdrop to commemorations - notably a service of remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum's Millennium Chapel attended by widows of those killed. A single candle was lit and will be left alight for the 74 days of the conflict.

Among those attending was the widow of 2 Para commander Lt Col "H" Jones, who died while leading a charge against an Argentine machine gun post at Goose Green. "The islanders have always been fiercely British and want to stay that way. I would like to believe that we would, if we could, do it again," said Sara Jones.

Later on Monday, police in Buenos Aires were pelted with homemade fire-bombs by protesters outside the British Embassy. Television footage showed riot police using a water cannon to disperse several hundred protesters who had been throwing rocks and flaming bottles towards the embassy.

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