During the international nuclear summit in Seoul, Argentina’s foreign minister Héctor Timerman denounced Great Britain’s “militarisation” of the Falklands, while Nick Clegg, the United Kingdom’s deputy prime minister, dismissed the claims as unfounded.
“My country is asking that the promise of peace that South Americans have chosen for the region be respected. Argentina demands that the extra-regional power which recently sent a submarine capable of carrying nuclear weapons to patrol in the South Atlantic confirm that it has not brought nuclear weapons to the region,” Timerman said, making references to the British submarine that was recently sent to patrol South Atlantic waters.
“I would like to call the summit’s attention to the recent militarisation of a so-called nuclear-free zone in which an extra-regional power sent a nuclear submarine into a zone whose sovereignty is subject of a dispute recognised by the UN while it hasn’t confirmed that it isn’t introducing nuclear weapons into a nuclear-free zone.” Timerman continued at the summit, which is attended by representatives from global powers, including United States president Barrack Obama.
“The countries that do not possess these tools of destruction need to be certain that we won’t be threatened by the most modern nuclear arsenals in order to protect anachronistic interests.”
Nick Clegg, the UK representative at the summit, responded soon after, calling the claims “unfounded, baseless insinuations.”
“As I’m sure our colleague from Argentina knows, the United Kingdom ratified the protocols to the treaty in 1969… which guarantees a nuclear weapons-free zone covering Latin America and the Caribbean,” he said. “We have respected those obligations since 1969 and we will continue to do so.”
This is the just the latest episode in a diplomatic war of words that has been escalating between the two countries in the months leading up to the Falklands War’s 30th anniversary.
Argentina wants to reopen the debate about the sovereignty of the islands, which are found in Argentine waters according to international law. The British government believe that the inhabitants of the islands have the right to self-determination and that the islands should remain British as long as the people who live there want them to be.