It is almost 30 years to the anniversary of the start of the Falkland Conflict between the UK and the Islanders on one side, and Argentina on the other. In the last few weeks TEK has reported on Prince William's tour of duty on the Falkland Isles, an apparent show of strength by UK Naval forces and the UK company's search for oil in the waters off the Falkland Isles.
During this time the President of Argentina has been vocal as far as the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands goes. It seems that she, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, is ready to do battle, hopefully only verbally, for the Falkland Islands.
The Islands are situated miles away from the UK and are part of our Colonial heritage. It could be likened to Argentina owing the UK Isle of Man. However the UK government maintains that as long the Falkland Islanders want to stay under British rule we will do what it takes.
In the conflict of 1982, more than 600 Argentinian and 255 British troops died. Surely no-one wants to go down that road again. A negotiated agreement must be possible.
As the Anniversary approaches other South American countries are joining the cause of Argentina. Today March 20, 2012, Peru has announced that the British Royal Navy are no longer welcome to visit Peru. According to the BBC "HMS Montrose had been due to dock at the El Callao naval base this week. The UK Foreign Office said officials could have raised concerns with Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne when he was in the country last week".
The Peruvian Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo has said that he supports the Argentine claim that the Falkland Islands or Las Malvinas should belong to them. Cancelling the visit of HMS Montrose he said, "This decision has been taken in the spirit of Latin American solidarity commitments undertaken in the framework of Unasur (Union of South American Nations) with regard to the legitimate rights of Argentina in the sovereignty dispute over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding waters."
During the previous conflict Americans to the North, that is in the USA. stayed neutral.
Argentine Minister Hector Timmermann has already threatened the UK with legal action over its oil exploration. The UK Foreign Office has said that it regrets Peru's cancellation of the Royal Navy visit, saying, "HMS Montrose was scheduled to make a short visit to Peru as part of a routine deployment to the region"
A Foreign Office spokesman said "This was agreed as an act of friendship and co-operation between Peru and the UK. Ship visits are a sovereign decision for states, but we regret that Peru has revoked its previous agreement to this visit. This is despite the Peruvian government having had the opportunity on Friday to raise any concerns it had about this agreed co-operation."UK PM David Cameron has reiterated that the Falkland Islands sovereignty is not open for negotiation, as long as the majority of the islanders wish to remain with the UK as its country.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog