Uruguay denies entry to Falklands-bound British warship

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Uruguay denied entry to a British warship bound for the Falklands, the South Atlantic archipelago claimed by Britain and Argentina, an Uruguayan navy source said Monday.

"The request for entry by the frigate HMS Gloucester D-96, charged with guarding the Malvinas islands, was denied by the foreign ministry, without the navy having to get involved," said the source on condition of anonymity.

The Malvinas is the Spanish name for the Falklands, which Britain and Argentina went to war over in 1982.

The remote cluster of islands have an economy based largely on sheep raising and fishing, but in recent years British firms have begun exploring for oil offshore.

The Gloucester, which has a crew of about 200 persons, last week sought to take on supplies and fuel in Montevideo, the nearest port to the Falklands after Argentina.

Argentine ports have been closed to British warships since the Falkands war.

In 2006, protesting British oil exploration in waters around the Falklands, Argentina asked neighboring countries not to allow their ports or airports to be used by British ships or planes headed for the Falklands.

Uruguay historically has backed Argentina's claim to sovereignty over the Falklands and other islands in the South Atlantic, and has voted with it on the issue before international organizations.

© 2010 AFP

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