New Argentina president wants ‘new era’ in ties with Britain
Argentina's new President Mauricio Macri said, in comments published Tuesday, he wants to start "a new era" in relations with Britain, long strained by the two nations' territorial dispute over the Falkland Islands.
“We will keep our claim over the islands which are Argentine, but I will try to start a new era in ties with Britain,” he said in a joint interview with Spain’s daily El Pais, Britain’s The Guardian, France’s Le Monde and Italy’s La Stampa.
Macri’s leftist predecessor Cristina Kirchner and British Prime Minister David Cameron clashed very publicly over the islands, which are claimed by Argentina, where they are known as Las Malvinas.
The tensions between the two leaders over the issue came to a head in 2012 at a G20 summit after Kirchner tried to hand Cameron a package of papers relating to the disputed islands and he refused it.
Argentina claims it inherited the remote, wind-swept Falkland Islands from Spain when it gained independence while Britain says it has historically ruled them and that the islanders should have the right to self-determination.
In a 2013 referendum, 99.8 percent voted to remain a British overseas territory.
The 1982 Falklands War claimed the lives of 649 Argentine soldiers, 255 British soldiers and three islanders.
Pressed whether his conciliatory tone towards Britain would mean more trade, better transport links and other changes requested by the islanders, Macri avoided specifics.
“I want to sit down and start talking about the subject and in the meantime find in which ways we can cooperate,” he was quoted as saying by The Guardian during his first interview with the foreign media since taking office last month.