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Argentina withdraws from Falkland Islands pact with UK

Argentina has walked away from a cooperation pact with the United Kingdom and demanded new talks with London over the sovereignty of the disputed Falkland Islands. 

At the G20 summit in India on Thursday, Argentinian Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero informed UK counterpart James Cleverly that his government was abandoning the pact.

Cafiero “formulated a proposal to restart negotiations for sovereignty over the Falklands Question” in a meeting with Cleverly during the summit, the Foreign Ministry said.

The Argentinian government also invited the UK to “hold a meeting to settle” the debate at the United Nations.

The request to resume talks is the latest chapter in Argentina’s long-held claim over the British-run islands, which included the 1982 war. The islands are located in the South Atlantic about 600 kilometres from the Argentinian mainland and some 12, 985 kilometres from UK. 

“The Falkland Islands are British,” Cleverly retorted on Twitter over Cafiero’s thread.

“Islanders have the right to decide their own future — they have chosen to remain a self-governing UK Overseas Territory,” he added.

Known as the Malvinas in Spanish, the UK-ruled islands were the subject of a short but brutal war after Argentina sent troops in 1982. 

Britain drove out the invading force after dispatching a naval armada.

In 2016, the two sides agreed to disagree about sovereignty, but to cooperate on issues such as energy, shipping and fishing, and on identifying the remains of unknown Argentine soldiers killed in battle.

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‘Disappointing’ decision

The decision was announced just as Britain’s minister for the Americas, David Rutley, was visiting Buenos Aires for what he called “productive” meetings.

“Argentina has chosen to step away from an agreement that has brought comfort to the families of those who died in the 1982 conflict,” Rutley tweeted, calling the decision “disappointing”.

“Argentina, the UK and the Falklands all benefited from this agreement,” he said.

Both countries last year marked the 40th anniversary of the conflict, which claimed the lives of 649 Argentinian soldiers, 255 British servicemen, and three women who lived on the island.

A 2013 referendum on the islands resulted in a 99.8 percent vote to remain British.

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