UN official urges talks as Britain maneuvers near Falklands

15th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Argentina and Britain should return to negotiations and come to an understanding over the disputed Falkland islands, a top UN official said amid British military maneuvers in the region.

"We must be careful," warned Donatus Keith Saint Aime, chairman of the UN's Special Decolonization Committee, noting Thursday that Britain "does not see (the maneuvers) as a challenge but Argentina perceives them as provocation."

After a meeting with Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, Saint Aime told AFP both countries "have said they are willing to negotiate... It's about seeing how they can sit together and negotiate."

Lawmakers in Argentina's Congress earlier this week voted to condemn British military maneuvers near the Falklands, expressing their "energetic rejection" of the action that Britain insists are routine.

Timerman has said Argentina had not been informed ahead of time about the British military exercises around the disputed territory, which Buenos Aires calls the Malvinas Islands.

Britain's Foreign Office has said however the exercises have "been carried out every six months for the last 28 years."

Around 3,000 people live on the barren South Atlantic islands, which lie 450 kilometers (280 miles) off the South American coast.

Britain has held the archipelago since 1833. In 1982, Argentina's military junta invaded the islands, setting off a short but bloody war that ended in the deaths of 649 Argentine and 255 British troops, and with the islands back under British rule.

© 2010 AFP

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