BUENOS AIRES – Argentina on Friday demanded that Britain cancel military exercises in the Falkland Islands planned for Oct. 19-28.
The South American nation’s Naval Hydrographic Service, a division of the Defense Ministry, said it was notified by the British armed forces of the plans to conduct armed exercises, including missile launches, on the South Atlantic archipelago that Argentines know as the Malvinas.
“Argentina rejects these exercises on Argentine territory illegitimately occupied by Britain,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that they “ignore resolutions by the United Nations and other international organizations.”
Those resolutions “call on both countries to resume negotiations aimed at finding a peaceful and definitive solution to the sovereignty dispute, as well as to refrain from carrying out unilateral actions in disputed maritime territories and areas.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Foradori delivered a protest note to Britain’s ambassador to Argentina, Mark Kent, Buenos Aires said.
British government sources, for their part, told EFE Friday that the planned military operations were a routine exercise carried out in the Falkland Islands approximately twice a year and include the test launch of short-range missiles designed to protect the islands’ air force station.
The two countries expressed a willingness to improve bilateral relations late last year, when President Mauricio Macri took office. Under his predecessors – Cristina Fernandez and her husband, Nestor Kirchner, who died in 2010 – the dispute over the islands was a frequent source of tension.
The Falklands dispute erupted into armed conflict in 1982 when Argentine troops invaded the Falklands at the order of the military junta then in power in Buenos Aires.
Fighting officially began on May 1, 1982, with the arrival of a British task force, and ended 45 days later with the surrender of the Argentines.
The conflict claimed more than 900 lives – 649 Argentines and 255 British soldiers and sailors.
Buenos Aires has long demanded that Britain comply with a 1965 United Nations resolution describing London’s control of the Falklands – which dates from 1833 – as colonialism and calling on the parties to resolve the dispute through dialogue.
London has refused to discuss the question of sovereignty and says the Falklanders should decide their own future.
The dispute over the Falklands took on new importance in 2010 with the discovery of large offshore oil and gas deposits in the islands.