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Peru Cancels British Ship Arrival Over Falkland Islands Dispute

March 20, 2012

VOA News

Peru has canceled a scheduled visit by a British naval warship to show its support for Argentina in its long-standing dispute with Britain over control of the Falkland Islands.

The frigate Montrose was scheduled to arrive Thursday at Peru's naval port of Callao for a friendly visit. But Peruvian Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo said Monday the visit was scrapped as part of an agreement among the 12-member Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) supporting Argentina.

British officials say the Peruvian government could have raised its concerns with Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne during his visit to Lima last week.

Tensions between Buenos Aires and London have been building ahead of next month's 30th anniversary of their brief war over the Falkland Islands, located about 400 kilometers off the Argentine coast. Argentina had seized control of the islands before being routed by British forces during a 74-day conflict. Argentina continues to claim ownership over the archipelago, which it calls the Malvinas.

Argentina has become increasingly angry about British offshore oil exploration near the islands, as well as the deployment to the Falklands of Queen Elizabeth's grandson Prince William, who is helicopter pilot with the Royal Air Force.

Authorities in southern Argentina barred two British-linked cruise ships from entering the port of Ushuaia last month after they reportedly stopped in the Falkland Islands.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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