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Argentina blasts David Cameron for ‘provacative’ Falklands visit | World | News

Argentina blasts David Cameron for ‘provacative’ Falklands visit | World | News

Lord Cameron’s visit to the Falkland Islands has been criticised as a provocation by a firebrand governor of Argentina.

The former prime minister’s visit is the first by a member of the Cabinet since then defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon’s trip in 2016.

Britain’s top diplomat visited the self-governing overseas territory – referred to as Las Malvinas in Argentina – to underline the UK’s support and commitment to the islands’ defence.

Gustavo Melella, governor of the Tierra del Fuego province which according to Buenos Aires, includes the country’s portion of Antarctica and the Falkland Islands, wrote on X: “We will not stand for it.

“The presence of David Cameron on our Malvinas Islands constitutes a new British provocation and seeks to diminish our legitimate sovereignty claims over our territories and maintain colonialism in the 21st century.”

The islands, which lie about 300 miles (480 kilometers) off South America and 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometers) from Britain, have long been a source of tension between Argentina and the UK.

Argentina argues the islands were illegally seized from it in 1833. Britain, which says its territorial claim dates to 1765, sent a warship to the islands in 1833 to expel Argentine forces who had sought to establish sovereignty over the territory.

Argentina invaded the islands in 1982, triggering a two-month war, which was won by Britain, and led to the deaths of 649 Argentine troops, 255 British servicemen and three islanders.

Islanders voted overwhelmingly in a 2013 referendum to remain a British Overseas Territory.

Argentina’s recently elected President Javier Milei has called for the islands to be handed over to Buenos Aires.

Lord Cameron said the UK’s relationship with the Argentine government will never be at the expense of the wishes of the Falkland Islanders, who “in our view absolutely come first”.

Britain’s Foreign Office said that the two countries would agree to disagree, and do so politely over the issue.

The foreign secretary said he hoped the islands would wish to remain part of the British “family” forever.

He said: “As long as the Falkland Islands want to be part of the UK family they are absolutely welcome to be part of that family and we will support them and back them and help protect and defend them absolutely, as far as I’m concerned, for as long as they want. And I hope that’s for a very, very long time, possibly forever.”

During his visit, Lord Cameron was taken on a helicopter tour of the islands and stopped at two battle sites in the 1982 Falklands War. He also visited a cemetery and paid respects to the war dead.

On a walk around Gypsy Cove, Lord Cameron observed a small group of Magellanic penguins in the dunes and a pod of dolphins swimming in the waters below a windswept footpath.

He chatted to children involved in a local conservation group, who persuaded him to try a piece of edible grass growing along the coast.

In response, he said it tasted like celery, before offering the stem to the youngsters to try – they all declined.

During his visit, he also met members of a Zimbabwean demining team who had helped make the area safe by clearing munitions left over from the 1982 war.

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