Falklands row: Sun places advert in Argentina newspaper

The advert that was placed in the Buenos Aires Herald Image copyright News International
Image caption The Sun's advert in the Buenos Aires Herald ran in both Spanish and English

The Sun newspaper has taken out an advert in an English-language paper in Argentina defending Britain's sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.

The advert is a response to an open letter from the Argentine president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, which was printed in two British papers.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted the islanders must decide their own future.

Argentina invaded the islands in 1982 but was driven out by British forces.

A referendum on the islands' political status is to be held in March.

On Thursday, President Fernandez published an open letter to Mr Cameron, in the Guardian newspaper and the Independent, repeating calls for the islands - which are known as the Malvinas in Argentina - to come under the sovereignty of her nation.

She urged Mr Cameron to abide by a 1965 UN resolution to "negotiate a solution" to the dispute.

'Hands off'

But The Sun responded by taking out an advert in the Buenos Aires Herald - an English-language paper with a circulation of around 20,000 - telling Argentina to keep its "hands off".

The advert refers to the 649 Argentines and 255 British servicemen whose lives were lost in the 1982 war and said it was a conflict fought to defend the principle of self-determination.

The ad goes on to dispute Argentina's claim to the islands and points out British sovereignty dates back to 1765.

It adds: "Until the people of the Falkland Islands choose to become Argentinean, they remain resolutely British."

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Media captionFalklands War veteran Simon Weston says Britain must support the islanders

But the journalist Daniel Schweimler, who lives in Argentina, said the Sun's message would not go down well.

Mr Schweimler, who is based in Buenos Aires, said: "I've been here seven years now, and have never come across an Argentine who doesn't believe that the Falklands belong to Argentina.

"There's never been any animosity towards me when I mentioned that I'm British, but I think it's fair to say that almost across the board in a country of 40 million people they believe that... the Falklands belong to them," he added.

Argentine journalist Celina Andreassi agreed and says the Sun's advert was quite provocative.

Asked on BBC Radio 5 live what the reaction would be in Argentina, she said: "Probably anger, people will wonder what has the Sun got to do with it, but again the arguments the Sun puts forward are the arguments the British have generally put forward; the arguments our press put forward are the same as always - basically there's really nothing new."

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire told MPs in December of "illegitimate efforts to interfere with shipping and tourism in the region" by "elements in Argentina".

According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, there were a number of incidents in 2012 which saw British cruise ships cancel trips to the Falkland Islands, citing pressure from within Argentina which includes the Quebracho militant group.

Mr Swire said: "It is unfortunate that such actions by groups within Argentina, which have yet to be condemned by their government, have not only prevented thousands of passengers from visiting Argentina, but have also harmed the livelihoods of those working in the Argentine tourism sector.

"The British government continues to encourage all those in Argentina to allow cruise ships to travel without threats or hindrance".

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