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Argentina to Raise U.K. ‘Militarization’ of Falklands at UN

February 09, 2012

(Updates with Cameron’s spokeswoman starting in fifth paragraph.)

Feb. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Argentina will lodge a complaint with the United Nations Security Council over the U.K.’s “militarization” of the southern Atlantic Ocean around the Falkland Islands, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said.

The Foreign Ministry will protest Britain’s decision to send one of its newest destroyers, HMS Dauntless, to the islands, to replace an older ship at the same time Prince William was deployed to the archipelago, Fernandez said late yesterday in Buenos Aires. The president has rounded up fresh support in Latin America for her position in recent weeks. Britain’s government rejected the charge.

“This is a regional and global issue because they are militarizing the South Atlantic once again,” Fernandez, 58, told an audience at the presidential palace that included her Cabinet and the nation’s military chiefs. “There is no other way to interpret the decision to send a destroyer, a huge and modern destroyer, to accompany the royal heir, whom we would have loved to see in civilian clothing instead of a military uniform.”

The dispute between Argentina and the U.K., which went to war over the islands in 1982, deepened in 2010 after four British companies announced plans to search for oil around the Falklands, located about 480 kilometers (280 miles) from the South American mainland. The explorers are targeting 8.3 billion barrels in the waters this year, three times the U.K.’s reserves.

‘Posture Remains Unchanged’

“We’re not militarizing the South Atlantic,” Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokeswoman, Vickie Sheriff, told reporters in London today. “Our defense posture remains unchanged.”

Sheriff said that “the people of the Falklands choose to be British. Their right to self-determination is a principle enshrined in the UN charter.”

Cameron told lawmakers on Jan. 18 that Argentina’s behavior toward the islands is “like colonialism.”

London-based Borders & Southern Petroleum Plc will drill the Stebbing prospect this month, one of three Falkland areas that Morgan Stanley ranks among the world’s top 15 offshore prospects this year.

Rockhopper Exploration Plc, based in Salisbury, England, is seeking partners for the $2 billion development of its Sea Lion field, the islands’ first economically viable oil find.

Military Pilot

Tensions between the two countries escalated over William’s arrival at the islands last week for a tour of duty as a military pilot. Argentina’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement last week that Argentines regret that William traveled to the islands with the “uniform of a conqueror.”

“We are people that have suffered too much violence in our country, we are not attracted by games of guns and wars,” Fernandez said at the ceremony, in which she ordered a three- decade old report on the war to be reviewed and declassified.

In a show of support for Argentina’s claim, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Cuba and Antigua and Barbuda have agreed to ban ships flying the Falkland Islands flag from their ports.

Argentina traces its ties to the Falklands to 1820 when Colonel David Jewett claimed possession of the islands in the name of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata. Britain assumed military control of the archipelago in 1833, evicting Argentine authorities the following year.

Argentine military dictator Leopoldo Galtieri ordered the invasion of the Malvinas, as the Falklands are known in Argentina, on April 2, 1982. Argentine troops were defeated by British forces on June 14 that year. The war bolstered the government of U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, known as “The Iron Lady,” and helped her win re-election in 1983.

--With assistance from Bill Faries in Buenos Aires and Robert Hutton in London. Editors: Richard Jarvie, Eddie Buckle

To contact the reporter on this story: Eliana Raszewski in Buenos Aires at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at

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