The Argentine government has blasted Britain’s plans to hold war games including missile launches on the UK-occupied Malvinas Islands, demanding the termination of the “illegitimate” military drills.
Argentina’s Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Foradori complained to British ambassador in Buenos Aires, Mark Kent, in a diplomatic note about announced plans to hold the October 19-28 maneuvers, calling on Britain to call off the exercise, which will include the launch of Rapier missiles.
“The behavior of the United Kingdom contradicts the principle of the peaceful settlement of controversies supported unanimously by countries in the region,” said the note.
A spokeswoman for the British embassy in Buenos Aires described the military drills a “routine exercise” that takes places twice a year.
In its statement, the Argentine Foreign Ministry said that it had learned of the planned war games on Thursday.
The drills “contradict the principle of peaceful conflict resolution,” the statement said, describing the Malvinas - which the British call the Falklands - as “Argentinean territory illegitimately occupied by the United Kingdom.”
Last month, the two sides agreed to establish additional flights between the Malvinas Islands, located about 435 miles off the coast of southern Argentina, and third countries in South America.
Argentina's protest came just a month after the two countries agreed to collaborate on removing measures restricting the oil and gas, shipping and fishing industries on the remote islands off the southern coast of Argentina in the South Atlantic.
The last instance of escalated tensions over the Malvinas took place in June 2015 when an Argentine federal judge ordered the seizure of millions of dollars in assets owned by oil drillers operating in the area.
Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri has sought to improve his country’s ties with Britain since rising to power in December 2015 after diplomatic tensions between the two countries surged under the previous president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
Argentina has for decades claimed sovereignty over the UK-occupied islands with a population of nearly 3,000 people. The row led to a brief military confrontation in 1982.