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.

Monday, 3rd February 2020, 4:19 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd February 2020, 5:56 pm

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.’

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Roulement Infantry Company(RIC) embarking onto HMS Forth as part of Ex Cape Bayonet in the Faalkland Islands.

The Argentine diplomat criticised the UK for missing a deadline – set by the UN - to handover the Chagos archipelago back to Mauritius.

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‘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.

Images showing the Roulement Infantry Company(RIC) embarking onto HMS Forth as part of Ex Cape Bayonet in the Falkland Islands.

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.

Images showing the arrival of HMS Forth, an Offshore Patrol Vessel arriving into Mare Harbour at Mount Pleasant Complex in the Falkland Islands last month, Photo: Royal Navy.

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.