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Row as Falklands anniversary nears

Britain and Argentina are preparing to mark the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War amid heightened tensions over the disputed islands.

Three decades after Margaret Thatcher sent 27,000 troops and over 100 ships to repel the invaders, Buenos Aires again has its sights on claiming the territory it calls Las Malvinas for itself.

There is little sign that the row will amount to anything more than a war of words - for now at least - but old wounds have been reopened.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Argentine president Cristina Kirchner have traded barbs in the lead-up to the anniversary of the invasion of the islands on April 2 1982.

Argentina has accused the UK of "militarising" the dispute by reportedly sending a submarine carrying nuclear weapons to the South Atlantic, something that Britain has not confirmed. Buenos Aires also objected to the Duke of Cambridge's posting to the Falklands as an RAF rescue helicopter pilot and the deployment to the region of one of the Royal Navy's most modern destroyers, HMS Dauntless.

In turn Britain insists its movements of troops and warships are purely routine, and claims Argentina is trying to impose an "economic blockade'' on the Falklands by restricting shipping to and from the islands.

Last month Ms Kirchner said she was making a formal complaint about the UK's conduct to the United Nations, noting that she would have preferred to see Prince William "in civilian clothes and not in military uniform".

Mr Cameron responded by saying he believed the UN would back the islands' status as a self-governing British overseas territory and warning that Britain would "defend the Falkland Islands properly".

The dispute has even attracted the interest of celebrities, with Hollywood actor Sean Penn criticising London's "colonialist ideology" and British singer Morrissey telling the audience at a recent gig in Argentina that the islands "belong to you".

The discovery of potentially lucrative oil and gas reserves around the Falklands has further inflamed matters.


From Belfast Telegraph