Falklands: more international support for Argentina after 'militarization' claim?

Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said she will take her complaint that Britain is militarizing the Falklands before the UN Security Council.

Eduardo Di Baia/AP
An Argentina's flag which reads 'British, get away from Malvinas (Falklands),' hangs outside the Government Palace, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Feb. 7. In a national address Tuesday, President Cristina Fernández said she will formally complain to the UN Security Council about Britain sending one of its most modern warships to the Falkland Islands and accused Britain of militarizing their long dispute over the islands in the South Atlantic.
Eduardo Di Baia/AP
Argentina's President Cristina Fernández speaks during a national address while standing in front of a Falkland Islands' map at Government Palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tuesday.

In the simmering dispute over the British-run Falkland Islands, Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner urged Britain to “give peace a chance,” adding a new argument to the dispute that could resonate more widely with other nations.

She said Tuesday she will formally take her complaint to the UN Security Council – saying that the modern warship sent by Britain dangerously ups the ante.

"We have suffered too much violence already to be attracted to military games and wars," President Fernández said on Tuesday in a national broadcast. "No land should end up being a trophy of war."

Britain announced recently it was sending among its most modern warships, the HMS Dauntless, to the islands, to coincide with a six-week deployment of Prince William there. Britain has called both announcements routine.

Focusing on British militarization could win Argentina more broad support, says Pablo Ava, a political consultant in Buenos Aires. “This is not a military issue for Argentina, we have a very poor military system, it is 100 percent diplomatic,” he says. "On the British side, there is a military response to every Argentine position. I think that might help Argentina in the international scenario.”

Argentines have been clear in their support for a diplomatic solution but one that does not include a military response. According to a poll by Ibarometro in Buenos Aires, 70 percent of Argentines surveyed said it is important to regain sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. Only three in ten were for a military solution, however.

Argentina invaded the islands in 1982 under its military dictatorship, leading to a brief but deadly war with over 900 casualties. The 30th  anniversary of that invasion is this April.

Argentina has been in a diplomatic row with London over the sovereignty of the islands, which escalated in 2010 as Britain began searching for oil in the waters off the Islands. Kirchner has gained the support of Latin America, which most recently banned Falkland Island boats from entering the ports ofMercosur countries.

The British Foreign Office issued a statement in response to Fernández's most recent charge, saying "The people of the Falkland Islands are British out of choice. They are free to determine their own future and there will be no negotiations with Argentina over sovereignty unless the islanders wish it."

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