International

Argentina protests British military exercises in Falklands

Argentina has made a formal protest with the British embassy in Buenos Aires to reject Britain's military exercises in the Falkland Islands, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

A priest blesses the grave of an Argentine soldier killed during the 1982 war between Argentina and Britain, at a military cemetery in the Falkland Islands, known in Spanish as the Malvinas
A priest blesses the grave of an Argentine soldier killed during the 1982 war between Argentina and Britain, at a military cemetery in the Falkland Islands, known in Spanish as the Malvinas (Argentinian Presidency/AFP)

Argentina has made a formal protest with the British embassy in Buenos Aires to reject Britain's military exercises in the Falkland Islands, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

The two countries fought a war in 1982 in the South Atlantic islands ruled by Britain, and known in the Spanish-speaking world as the Malvinas.

Buenos Aires has "taken notice" that these exercises will take place from October 15-29 and will include missile launches, the ministry said in a statement.

"Argentina rejects the holding of these exercises in Argentine territory illegally occupied by the United Kingdom," it said.

The ministry added that the United Nations and other international bodies have urged both countries to resume negotiations for "a peaceful and definitive solution to the sovereignty dispute."

Argentina made a similar protest two years ago and Britain argued that the exercises were routine.

The latest complaint comes after President Mauricio Macri warned Argentines late last month that they face painful months ahead after his government pledged tough austerity measures to meet the terms of an enlarged crisis loan from the International Monetary Fund.

Argentina's currency has lost half its value against the dollar in 2018, hurting the purchasing power of millions of ordinary Argentines. Inflation is forecast to reach more than 40 percent by the end of the year.

The war began when troops dispatched by then Argentine dictator Leopoldo Galtieri occupied the archipelago, prompting Britain to dispatch an expeditionary force which took back the territory.

Argentina suffered 649 fatalities in the 74-day war, while 255 British troops and three islanders died.

Argentina argues it inherited the windswept islands from Spain when it gained independence in the 19th century.

Britain refuses to negotiate the status of the Falklands, as demanded by Argentina, arguing that the nearly 3,000 people living there voted in a referendum in 2013 to remain part of Britain.