Lawmakers in Argentina slam British maneuvers near Falklands

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Lawmakers in Argentina's Congress voted Wednesday to condemn British military maneuvers near the disputed Falkland islands.

Lawmakers in the South American nation's Senate and House of Deputies passed resolutions expressing their "energetic rejection" of the maneuvers, which Britain insists are routine.

The Argentine legislators said they urged their government and Britain to resume negotiations on the South Atlantic islands, which Buenos Aires claims and London holds.

"We are very concerned by this acceleration or provocation by the United Kingdom, but we are not going to fall for any provocation and we will not stray from the law, diplomacy and peace," Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman told reporters on Tuesday.

He 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 the exercises are "routine" and have "been carried out every six months for the last 28 years."

But Argentina Saturday decried the maneuvers and military build-up as an "unacceptable provocation," and on Monday lodged a formal complaint with the United Nations in response.

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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