Argentina will use no-deal Brexit to take back Falkland Islands, foreign minister warns

Jorge Faurie suggests Buenos Aires would exploit looser diplomatic ties between UK and Brussels to ‘enhance’ its position

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
@LizzyBuchan
Friday 26 October 2018 14:00
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Argentina could take advantage of uncertainty caused by a no-deal Brexit to bring the Falkland Islands back under its control, the country’s foreign minister has said.

Jorge Faurie suggested that Buenos Aires would exploit looser diplomatic ties between the UK and Brussels to “enhance” its position, as EU treaties will cease to apply and member states will no longer have to support the UK’s claim to the islands.

The comments came after a meeting with foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt amid uncertainty over the legal status of the UK’s overseas territories after Brexit.

“Our planning for Las Malvinas [the Argentine name for the islands] is to have a negotiation that will enable stronger relations between the people on the islands and the people on the continent,” Mr Faurie told The Telegraph.

“And we hope that the non Brexit solution will enhance the possibility of that dialogue to be truly one with results.”

He added: “If you think member states [of the EU] would not sustain the Malvinas claim in favour of the UK, we are there ... to talk, to negotiate, to see what would be the best solution for the people in the islands to be much more in touch with Argentina.”

Mr Faurie reiterated Argentina’s position that the Falkland Islands should be returned to the mainland, which was the subject of the conflict between the UK and Buenos Aires in 1982.

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The islands are currently recognised as a British overseas territory under the EU’s 2009 Lisbon Treaty, in which the bloc’s Duty of Sincere Cooperation obliges member states to support each other on claims of sovereignty.

Theresa May is due to meet Argentinian president Mauricio Macri next month at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, which will be the first time a British prime minister has visited the country since 2001.

Asked about the comments, the prime minister’s official spokesperson said Mr Faurie was “talking very positively about our bilateral relationship”.

“I think I would just say that the Falklands remain an overseas territory of the UK after we leave the EU – as will all our overseas territories,” they said.

“We are clear that all our overseas territories will retain their current relationship with the UK after we leave the EU.

“The prime minister will be in Argentina in the coming weeks so she will discuss a number of issues including the EU exit with foreign leaders there.”

Pressure is mounting on Ms May to avert a no-deal Brexit by uniting her divided party in the frantic final weeks of the talks.

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