The dispute over the Falkland Islands shows signs of heating up…
David Cameron recently confirmed that there would be no negotiation on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. When asked on the Andrew Marr Show of the potential threat to the islands from Argentina, the Prime Minister said:
We must never put them at risk. We must make sure our defences are strong, there’s no question of negotiating.
The strong stance comes after the matter of the ownership of the islands was raised last year by Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Her rhetoric was described by the UK press as sabre rattling, however the decision made last month by the member states of Mercosur -which include Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil- has made the situation far more serious.
The South American trading bloc announced in December that any boat flying the Falkland Island flag would be banned from docking at their ports. The decision shoes that Argentina does not stand alone in its open pursuit to regain control of the islands, known as Las Malvinas in South America.
The issue is once again becoming prominent in Argentine politics as the waters which belong to the island could potentially be extremely rich in minerals. The president of the Falklands Chamber of Commerce, Roger Spink likened the blockade to the current issues in the Middle East. Saying:
If we were Palestine the EU would be up in arms
With the tension increasing the world will watch the region with caution. Although conflict is still a long way off it all depends on just how desperate Argentina becomes. With the support of its fellow South Americans will the temptation of the raw materials the Falklands hold become too much to bear? Despite the cuts to the defence budget, Dick Swale, a member of the Falkland Legislative Assembly, claimed in June 2011 that the islands are better defended than in 1982.
However is that enough to deter Argentina’s ambition?
Michal Lodej is a freelance journalist who writes on a variety of subjects including politics and finance.