Argentina celebrates diplomatic coup as Hillary Clinton calls for talks over Falklands

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(Picture Alliance/Photoshot)
Argentine President Fernandez de Kirchner and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shake hands after a meeting at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires

by Giles Whittell, Hannah Strange,
Catherine Philp and Martin Fletcher in Stanley
Times [UK]
3 March 2010

Argentina was celebrating a diplomatic coup yesterday in its attempt to force Britain to accept talks on the future of the Falkland Islands, after a two-hour meeting in Buenos Aires between Hillary Clinton and President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Responding to a request from Mrs Kirchner for “friendly mediation” between Britain and Argentina, Mrs Clinton, the US Secretary of State, said she agreed that talks were a sensible way forward and offered “to encourage both countries to sit down”.

Her intervention defied Britain’s longstanding position that there should be no negotiations unless the islands’ 3,000 inhabitants asked for them. It was hailed in Buenos Aires as a major diplomatic victory, but condemned in the Falklands.

Britain insisted there was no need for mediation as long as the islanders wanted to remain British. “We don’t think that’s necessary,” a Downing Street spokesman said.

What began as a last-minute change to Mrs Clinton’s itinerary on her five-day sweep through Latin America has snowballed into a major diplomatic incident that has emboldened Argentina and caught the US largely un- awares. It could force Britain to reassess the level of international support for its efforts to develop a hydrocarbon industry in the Falklands basin…

…Tiffany Gillen, an American citizen living in the Falklands, wrote a letter of protest to President Obama, asking: “How can we not support these people, this country? Have we ceased to be allies of the United Kingdom?”…

The article continues at the Times.

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