Argentina to complain to UN on British Falklands action

| Feb. 8, 2012 |

Published by GlobalPost

Argentina is to formally complain to the UN about Britain's decision to send a warship to the Falklands, further chilling relations between the two nations 30 years after they fought over the islands.

Argentine Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, who described Britain recently as a "synonym for colonialism," has been ordered by Presient Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to make the formal complaint to the Security Council in June, exactly 30 years after the war ended.

The impetus for the move is UK authorities' decision to deploy a modern destroyer to the islands, as well as the deployment of Prince William, a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force and second in line to the throne, to serve there—in the "uniform of a conquistador," claimed Argentina authorities.

"We have suffered too much violence already to be attracted to military games and wars," said Kirchner, adding that she urged British Prime Minister to "give peace a chance," in the words of one of the country's cultural icons John Lennon.

Britain originally discovered the islands long before Argentina existed, before they were transferred to the Spanish and then Argentina itself, then independent. However, Britain seized them back in 1833.

The population of roughly 3,000 is keen to remain in British hands.

Read more: Britain, Argentina ramp up rhetoric over Falklands

Tensions between the nations have been growing for some months, egged on by the press in both countries who have carried nationalistic stories and images. There is also money at stake. British firms have begun carrying out deep-sea oil exploration around the islands, 300 miles off Argentina's coast, and there is the possibility that large oilfields are about to be discovered.

Read more: Oil in Falklands Islands renews territorial tensions

The dispute has gained traction across Latin America, with Mercosur, an alliance of four Latin American nations, agreeing recently to ban ships flying the Falklands flag from its members’ ports. Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez has also stepped in, backing the Argentine claiming and even lightly hinting that he would be prepared to send troops to fight there.

Read more: Mercosur closes ports to Falkland Island ships

It is unlikely that the rhetoric will turn into anything more. Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges described the 1982 war as a "fight between two bald men over a comb."