Falklands land-grab: Argentina tests UK with new sovereignty bid – ‘No more concessions!’
Falklands: Alberto Fernandez says the UK is 'ignoring' Argentina
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Guillermo Carmona offered his belligerent assessment of the situation during an interview on Radio 3, an Argentinian radio station, just weeks after he replaced Daniel Filmus as Secretary of Malvinas, Antarctica and South Atlantic after a Cabinet reshuffle. And he also confirmed Buenos Aires was planning to spend an eye-watering £5.2billion on a new Antarctic Logistics Centre at in the far south of the country in a clear signal to London.
Referring to Mauricio Macri, Mr Fernandez’s predecessor, Mr Carmona accused his administration of making “made pernicious concessions for the country”.
He explained: “It is important to highlight the decision to give more importance to the Malvinas area in the Foreign Ministry and to broaden its competencies, restoring the status of Secretariat.”
While Mr Macri was in office, there was what Mr Carmona referred to as a “de-Malvinasisation”.
Days before Mr Macri’s election, Fluvio Pompeo, who was subsequently appointed Secretary of Strategic Affairs, used an interview with a “British newspaper” to announce measures aimed at “unfreezing the relationship with the United Kingdom”, Mr Carmona pointed out.
In an assessment which is unlikely to endear him to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, he commented: “We have always been in favour of dialogue with the United Kingdom, but under one condition, sovereignty as the centre of any dialogue.
“We have resumed the State policy regarding Malvinas, based on the Constitution, the laws and appealing to international law.
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“We decided to use diplomatic instruments to create the appropriate conditions in defence of the national interest.”
The objective was to work “to achieve the full exercise of sovereignty” he stressed, adding: “This is what we are going to do and continue to do.”
In such a context, Mr Carmona confirmed plans to begin work on the Antarctic Logistics Centre in Ushuaia, at Argentina’s southern tip, next year.
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He explained: “In the draft national budget, allocations have been made to start the Antarctic Logistics Centre.
“In infrastructure, the construction of a dock and the incorporation of machinery and equipment at the Ushuaia naval base are foreseen.”
To that end, Argentina was proposing to spend £2billion in 2022, £1.8billion in 2023 and £1.4billion in 2024, he said.
He added: “It is a decision of the national executive to move forward on this, but we have to be attentive to the initiatives developed by the British on the islands, such as the construction of a port.”
Mr Carmona also emphasised his wish to establish direct flights to the Falklands, which he referred to as “an Argentine island territory” via Aerolineas Argentinas.
He explained: “In principle, we must not lose sight of the fact that our position was to offer the United Kingdom the establishment of flights between the islands and the mainland, with Buenos Aires.
“The Argentine mainland is the point where communications with the entire national territory, including the Malvinas, should be established.
“It is also our intention that Aerolineas Argentinas should be the airline to do this and we will continue to work on this.
“The North Star that guides us is the reopening of dialogue with the United Kingdom, but with sovereignty on the table.”
Assessing Mr Carmona’s appointment, one UK-based insider told Express.co.uk last week: “Guillermo Carmona has been a major player in the Argentine campaign for the Falklands for a long time.
“I think Filmus was quite aggressive. But Carmona may well be more so because of his long involvement with their campaign and with Argentine specialists on the subject – and because the Argentine Government is likely to want to step up their campaign ahead of the 40th anniversary of the war next year, and for domestic and electoral purposes.”
Argentina invaded the Falklands in 1982 and was repelled by a British task force dispatched by then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher after a three-month war which cost the lives of almost 1,000 men.
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