Argentine officials say Brexit could weaken UK's claim on Falklands as Royal Navy warship from Portsmouth arrives in region
BRITAIN’S divorce from the European Union could strengthen Argentina’s hand to reclaim the Falklands, officials in Buenos Aires have today said.
Daniel Filmus, Argentine secretary of Malvinas, Antarctica and south Atlantic, claimed Brexit could result in European support for the UK’s claim of sovereignty rowed back.
Mr Filmus insisted this could open a new window of opportunity for his government to stake its claim over the territory.
Asked if Brexit could boost Argentina’s Falklands bid, he said: ‘It could be, yes. The effects are still unknown, but it is clear.’
The Argentine diplomat criticised the UK for missing a deadline – set by the UN - to handover the Chagos archipelago back to Mauritius.
‘Seven months have passed and it has not done so,’ he added. ‘The UK ignores what the assembly says but Brexit changes European politics.’
His comments come as a Royal Navy warship from Portsmouth began her first stint of patrols around the Falklands.
The navy has had a constant presence in the region since it was invaded by Argentina on April 2, 1982.
HMS Forth, one of Britain’s newest offshore patrol ships, is forward-deployed in the region, having taken over from HMS Clyde, which returned to Portsmouth in December after 12 years protecting the territory.
And in one of her first duties, the men and women of Forth have been showing off their ship to British soldiers protecting the Falklands.
More than 40 Grenadier Guards were given a tour of the ship – which is larger and more powerful than Clyde and has dedicated mess for up to 51 troops.
The Grenadier Guards made full use of the ship’s improved facilities as part of Cape Bayonet, an exercise built to test the army and navy’s ability to work together to protect the islands or carry out relief and rescue missions.
Later, Forth’s crew were visited by six Royal Marine veterans from Naval Party 8901, the detachment of Commandos forced to surrender when overwhelmed by Argentine invaders.
The invasion of the Falklands sparked a bitter 10-week battle that claimed the lives of 255 British military personnel, three Falkland Islanders and 649 Argentine troops.