Falklands minister reasserts Argentina sovereignty claim and takes swipe at UK

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Flights of British military planes to the Falklands, stopping at Brazilian airports, have sparked tensions in recent weeks. Buenos Aires said “strict criterion” must be placed on the flights to the islands which it stressed – again – were Argentinian, not British.

Argentina’s Falklands Secretary, Guillermo Carmona, told Radio Nacional: “Argentina’s concern has to do with military flights that may be flying under the argument of being humanitarian flights…

“We do not question the reception of humanitarian flights, but it must be done in a strict sense.

“Argentina states the need for a strict criterion in relation to the flights authorised to make stopovers in neighbouring countries to be strictly humanitarian.”

Mr Carmona added that his Government is concerned about the reported increasing frequency of flights.

He said these were falsely claiming humanitarian status when they were, in fact, “military flights”.

The minister said: “I am convinced that neither Argentina nor Brazil want the militarisation process in Malvinas to grow.”

Brazil, which backs Argentina’s sovereignty claims over the islands, defended the flights.

The country’s Foreign Ministry downplayed suggestions the flights were militaristic rather than humanitarian.

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It said: “The Brazilian position of authorising the overflight and landing of British military aircraft on the Falklands route is guided by the principle of not contributing to the modernisation and expansion of the United Kingdom’s military resources and war potential in that archipelago.”

According to Mr Carmona, “the countries of the region firmly support Argentina in its sovereignty claim” over the Falklands – or Malvinas, as Argentina calls it.

Another such country which has made it clear it backs the claims is China.

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Liz Truss said on Sunday the islands “are part of the British family”.

Beijing quickly hit back, highlighting its “consistent” position on the Falklands.

China’s embassy in the UK said in a statement: “We firmly support Argentina’s legitimate claim to full sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands.

“China has always advocated that territorial disputes between countries should be resolved through peaceful negotiations in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

“We hope that the UK will respond positively to Argentina’s request, start dialogue and negotiation as soon as possible, and find a peaceful, just and lasting solution in accordance with relevant UN resolutions.”

Whitehall shows no interest in backing down on its claim, stating earlier this year it would defend the Falklands from “bullies” and “enemies” – both near and far.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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