Britain 'very concerned' at bar on Falklands ships

21st December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain said Wednesday it was "very concerned" by the decision of a South American trading bloc to close its ports to ships flying the flag of the Falkland Islands, saying there was "no justification".

The president of the Falklands Chamber of Commerce, Roger Spink, said the islands felt increasingly under blockade, telling the BBC: "If we were Palestine, the European Union would be up in arms."

The Mercosur countries, which include Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, agreed overnight to bar ships carrying the Falklands flag, in solidarity with Buenos Aires in its dispute with London over the South Atlantic islands.

"We are very concerned by this latest Argentine attempt to isolate the Falkland Islands people and damage their livelihoods, for which there is no justification," a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.

"It is not immediately clear what practical impact, if any, this statement will have, which mirrors the language already used by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in 2010.

"We are discussing this urgently with countries in the region. But no one should doubt our determination to protect the Falkland Islanders' right to determine their own political future."

The Falklands flag is flown by 25 boats, mostly fishing vessels, according to the BBC.

Britain and Argentina fought a brief but bloody war in 1982 over the islands, which are known as the Malvinas in the Spanish-speaking world.

© 2011 AFP

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