Falklands: Former Argentine senator calls for fresh talks with UK

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And ex-British diplomat Adrian Hill also took a swipe at President Xi Jinping for China’s recent comments about sovereignty of the remote archipelago given his country’s track record in the South China Sea. During a speech at the the UN’s special committee on decolonisation last month, Geng Shuang, Beijing’s permanent representative, urged Britain to “start dialogue and negotiations” with Argentina, which could see the islands handed over.

If I was Argentina I would think twice before starting a fight

Adrian Hill

Argentina has stepped up its sovereignty push since the election of President Alberto Fernandez, and while officially it is committed to peaceful means of advancing its claim, Mr Hill was sceptical, given the country’s invasion of the islands in 1982.

The former officer in the Royal Engineers who among other diplomatic posts worked as a member of the Channel Tunnel team at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the COBRA Committee of the Cabinet Office told Express.co.uk: “If I was Argentina I would think twice before starting a fight – we didn’t have proper carriers in 1982, Ark Royal had been paid off.

“Sandy Woodward had to position destroyers and frigates like sitting ducks as radar pickets.

“Today we have two super-carriers with stealth fighters and we would take out the Argentinian air force on its bases and their fleet in its docks.

He added: “One would hope that the Argentinians would remember the lives they lost and not want to go through that again.

“I lost three friends in the South Atlantic, one killed by a blue on blue mistake but such things happen once shooting starts. I would also have thought that the very fact of Brexit warns there’s plenty of life left in the old lion.”

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Referring to China’s increasingly expansionist foreign policy, Mr Hill said: “Perhaps as the Taliban lock up the women and send the men to the mosque – no shaving any longer either and the girls must be handed to ‘commanders ‘ as wives – perhaps it’s not a bad moment to thank Xi for reminding the planet that one country kept its word and sent a fleet 8000 miles to rescue 3000 of its people from foreign invasion and occupation.

“Also, it’s a bit rich for him to rant about colonialism as he’s busy stealing at least four other countries’ islands and making them Chinese colonies. The UN looks a laughing stock.”

He added: “Mind you, Xi isn’t daft. He knows our fleet needs four times the number of surface ships including carriers and four times the number of nuclear subs.

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“Russia’s navy has a Baltic Fleet and a Northern Fleet as well as a Black Sea Fleet and a Far Eastern Fleet.

“Which is why he doesn’t like the idea of a joint US/UK task force cruising through the South China Sea – hence his sudden diplomatic crusade against other peoples’ colonies while forgetting his own.”

Speaking against a backdrop of rapidly fraying UK-Sino relations, Geng Shuang said: “China has always maintained that territorial disputes between countries should be resolved through peaceful negotiations in line with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

“We hope Britain will actively respond to Argentina’s request, start dialogue and negotiations as soon as possible with a view to finding a peaceful, just and lasting solution in accordance with relevant UN resolutions.”

The vast majority of the Falklands’ 3,000 residents want to retain their ties with the UK.

In 2013, 99.8 percent of Falkland Islanders who participated in a referendum backed the idea of continuing as a British overseas territory.

Argentina invaded the Falklands in April, 1982, triggering a three-month war which saw them defeated in June.

However the country has never relinquished its claim over the islands.

Mr Fernandez has designated the issue as a “matter of state”.

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