UK Politics

Minister: UK hopes Argentina's Falkland Islands 'bullying' ends

Stanley, Falkland Islands

The UK government says it hopes Argentina's "bullying" of the Falkland Islands will end now that a new president has been elected.

Mauricio Macri was elected with 51.5%, ending the 12-year rule of outgoing president Cristina Kirchner's party.

The long-running dispute over the British overseas territory intensified after Ms Kirchner took power in 2007.

UK Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire said he looked forward to working with the new administration.

'Bullying and bellicosity'

Mr Macri's victory in the presidential election was the first in more than a decade for Argentina's centre-right opposition and ends the rule of the Peronist Party.

The outgoing mayor of Buenos Aires, will take control of the presidency on 10 December.

Addressing the House of Commons, Mr Swire said: "We look forward to working with the new government of Argentina who hopefully will not suffer from the bullying and bellicosity shown by the former government of Argentina to the people of the Falkland Islands."

It came in response to Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell, who asked the government to call on new Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau to continue his country's support for the Falkland Islanders' right to self-determination when he visits the UK this week.

Falklands Islands dispute

  • The Falkland Islands are an isolated and sparsely populated British overseas territory in the south-west Atlantic Ocean
  • They remain the subject of a sovereignty dispute between Britain and Argentina, who waged a brief but bitter war over the territory in 1982
  • Argentine forces landed on the Falklands on 2 April 1982 to stake a territorial claim, but by 14 June they had been ejected by a British military task force
  • The fighting cost the lives of 655 Argentine and 255 British servicemen
  • Argentina says it has a right to the islands, which it calls the Malvinas, because it inherited them from the Spanish crown in the early 1800s
  • It has also based its claim on the islands' proximity to the South American mainland
  • Britain rests its case on its long-term administration of the Falklands and on the principle of self-determination for the islanders, who are almost all of British descent.

Mr Swire told him: "You can be reassured we expect the same from Prime Minister Trudeau.

"He's on his way to London to meet with our prime minister and Her Majesty before travelling on to Chogm (Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting) in Valletta.

"We expect exactly the same relationship. It's an ancient and potent relationship between ourselves and Canada."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Centre-right Mr Macri led opponent Daniel Scioli by 51.5% to 48.5%

Argentina lays claim to the Falkland islands, which it calls the Malvinas, but the government says the claim has "no basis in international law" and should be withdrawn.

In 2013, Falkland Islanders took part in a referendum, voting by 1,513 to three to remain a British overseas territory.

Mr Macri is the outgoing mayor of Buenos Aires and will take control of the presidency on December 10.

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