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Iran Press TV

Argentina slams UK over military boost in Malvinas Islands

Iran Press TV

Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:25AM

Argentina says Britain's move to boost its military presence in the Malvinas Islands, known as the Falklands to the British, is a "provocation" and pre-election stunt.

"This business from Great Britain is a provocation, not just to Argentina but also to the United Nations," Argentinean Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said on Wednesday, referring to Britain's so-called defense initiative over the Malvinas Islands.

On Tuesday, British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon announced a £180-million (USD 268 million) package over 10 years to counter Argentina's "continuous intimidation' in the disputed South Atlantic islands.

Meanwhile, Timerman said on Wednesday that Buenos Aires would file a formal complaint with the UN and the Decolonization Committee, which adopted a resolution calling on Britain to negotiate with Argentina on the islands' status.

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner's cabinet chief, Anibal Fernandez, has also criticized the new defense plan, saying it is less about Argentine threats than a cheap British nationalism campaign ahead of general elections on May 7.

Britain argues the islanders should decide themselves whether to remain under the British rule. In a 2013 referendum, 99.8 percent voted to remain a British territory.

The London-backed vote, however, has been challenged by Argentina as a British maneuver lacking legal value.

The Malvinas Islands were declared part of the British overseas territories when the UK established its colonial rule on the islands in 1833. Argentina and Britain fought a bloody war in 1982 over the islands.

Buenos Aires says Britain forcibly stripped Argentina of the islands and has been occupying the territory since then.

The Malvinas Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean. The principal islands are about 300 miles (500 km) east of Argentina's coast.

GMA/AS/MHB



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