BUENOS AIRES – The United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May became the first British leader to visit Buenos Aires when she arrived Friday to attend the G20 summit and also hold bilateral talks with the president of Argentina over the future of the Falkland Islands.
May said that improving international relations with Argentina had meant that tensions over the archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean – over which the two countries went to war in 1982 – were also easing, although sovereignty was not up for negotiation.
“Our position on the sovereignty of the Falklands has not changed, but what has changed in recent months is that we have seen better relations with Argentina,” May said in advance of her meeting with President Mauricio Macri.
Earlier in the week, the British and Argentine governments reached an agreement to provide a weekly flight from Sao Paolo (Brazil) to the Falklands by the Latin American airline LATAM, with a monthly stop in Cordoba (Argentina).
“I think the announcement we saw earlier this week of the extra flight for the Falklands through to South America is important,” May said. “It’s important for the Falklands. It’s important in showing a different relationship developing. I’ll be talking to President Macri about issues around trade, about the opportunities for trade,” she added.
The agreement over the LATAM flights is the result of two years of negotiations, begun in Sept. 2016, with the aim of increasing bilateral cooperation between the UK and Argentina, a British diplomatic source told EFE.
The 1982 war over the sovereignty of the islands, which Buenos Aires has claimed since 1833, ended with the surrender of Argentina’s forces and the final downfall of the country’s military government in favor of a democratically-elected legislature.