Leaders in confrontation over Falklands

Last updated 08:05 21/06/2012
British PM David Cameron talks with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner at the G20 summit
FALKLANDS FACE-OFF: British PM David Cameron talks with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner at the G20 summit

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The disputed Falkland Islands provided the spark for a confrontation between British Prime Minister David Cameron and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner at a meeting of Group of 20 leaders.

In a discussion initiated by Cameron at the convention centre in the Mexican resort city of Los Cabos, he approached Fernandez, telling her that she should "respect the views" of the islanders, who will be holding a referendum next year, Alfredo Scoccimarro, a spokesman for Fernandez, told the state-run news service Telam.

Fernandez responded by trying to hand him an envelope stuffed with United Nations resolutions on the "Malvinas," the Argentine name for the area, Scoccimarro said.

"Fernandez told him that she wasn't planning to talk about sovereignty and just wanted to give him this envelope," Scoccimarro told Telam.

"And at that moment, Cameron absolutely refused to accept it."

"I am not proposing a full discussion now on the Falklands, but I hope you have noted that they are holding a referendum and you should respect their views," Cameron told Fernandez, according to an account of the conversation e-mailed by British officials.

"We should believe in self-determination and act as democrats here in the G-20."

Britain defeated Argentina in a 1982 war after Argentine forces invaded the Falklands. Tensions have heightened this year, with Argentina protesting Britain's deployment of a modern warship to the region and Prince William's arrival for a stint as a military-helicopter pilot.

-Washington Post/Bloomberg

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