Falklands Dispute Heats Up Once Again: Peru shows solidarity with Argentina
Peru has cancelled the visit of a United Kingdom Royal Navy frigate in an effort to show solidarity with Argentina over their decades long dispute with the UK over the Falklands Islands.
The HMS Montrose was supposed to dock in Peru later this week, but the national government has officially retracted its offer of welcome.
As the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War between the United Kingdom and Argentina approaches, Argentina has displayed a renewed interest in claiming the constantly disputed islands for her own. Much of the renewed tension is likely the recent discovery of potentially enormous oil resources around the islands.
And Peru isn’t getting involved without a good reason: Peruvian Foreign Minister Rafael Roncaglio explained to the press that “This decision has been taken in the spirit of Latin American solidarity commitments undertaken in the framework of UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) with regard to the legitimate rights of Argentina in the sovereignty dispute over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding waters.”
This public display of solidarity is largely symbolic, but important to note. Many South American nations have felt victimized at times by the imperial tendencies of developed nations from other continents, and this could signal a small step towards continental solidarity.
The United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office noted that Peru had the opportunity to discuss the matter behind closed doors when Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne visited the country last week.
An official said the public act of protest occurred “despite the Peruvian government having had the opportunity on Friday to raise any concerns it had about this agreed co-operation.”
The same spokesman explained that the “HMS Montrose was scheduled to make a short visit to Peru as part of a routine deployment to the region.”
The spokesman elaborated that although the visit “was agreed as an act of friendship and cooperation between Peru and the UK”, such visits are ultimately “a sovereign decision for states, but we regret that Peru has revoked its previous agreement to this visit.”
The United Kingdom has been recently accused of once again militarizing the dispute: Argentinian authorities claim that the UK sent a submarine carrying nuclear warheads to the region where the islands lie off Argentina’s southern coast. This allegation remains unconfirmed by the UK, however.
Argentina has also objected to the deployment of the HMS Dauntless to the region– a type-45, daring-class air defense destroyer. Argentina feels the deployment of such an advanced air-defense unit is only exacerbating tensions.
The United Kingdom insists that all troop and ship movements are routine, and accuses Argentina themselves of imposing an economic blockade in the region by restricting trade to and from the islands.
The residents of the Falklands Islands have consistently self-determined as British, and PM David Cameron has promised that the United Kingdom would “defend the Falkland Islands properly.”