Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ratcheting Up the Tension in the Falklands

Last week I had noted the increasing tensions between Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands, which have coincided with oil discoveries in the area. Tension continues to mount. From The Telegraph, a report on calls from Lord West, the former First Sea Lord, calling on the British government to send a nuclear submarine to the area, and also hold naval exercises.

The peer called for a nuclear submarine to be sent to the region to show Britain's determination to protect the Falklands and said that military exercises would leave Buenos Aires in no doubt about Britain’s attitude to the announcement.

“Far from trying to settle in a grown-up way and having better and better relationships with the Falkland islanders, they are upping the ante and becoming very confrontational,” he told the London Evening Standard.

Roger Spink, president of the Falklands Chamber of Commerce, said they were a small community and felt increasingly under blockade. ''If we were Palestine, the European Union would be up in arms," he told the BBC.

The latest row was sparked after the presidents of the South American countries announced they had reached the agreement to ban ships flying the Falklands flag.

In a communiqué, released at the end of a summit in Montevideo, the Uruguayan capital, said ships carrying the flag "should not dock in Mercosur ports, and if that were to happen, they should not be accepted in another Mercosur port".

They added that member countries would adopt "all measures that can be put in place to impede the entry to its ports of ships that fly the illegal flag of the Malvinas Islands [sic]".
(Brackets mine).

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