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Argentine president in war of words with British PM

Argentine president in war of words with British PM
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Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has hit out at Britain over the Falklands islands in the South Atlantic.

Fernandez said Britain “continues to be a crass colonial power in decline”. The two countries dispute the islands and went to war over them in 1982.

Her comments came after British Prime Minister David Cameron said holding any sovereignty talks over the islands would be subject to residents calling for it. The United States has been pressing Argentina and Britain to negotiate.

“As long as the Falkland Islands want to be sovereign British territory, they should remain sovereign British territory — full stop, end of story,” Mr Cameron said in parliament on June 15.

Fernandez called his comments a sign of “mediocrity bordering on stupidity”.

The bloody 1982 conflict between the two countries over the Falklands – or Las Malvinas as Argentina calls them – left 649 Argentine and 255 British forces killed. Britain has held the islands since 1833.

If Argentina attacks the Falklands again, Britain would risk losing them as a result of cuts to military expenditure, the commander of British forces in the war recently warned. The Falklands “are now perilously close to being indefensible,” Admiral Sandy Woodward wrote in an article in the Daily Mail newspaper earlier this week.

Offshore oil exploration operations near the islands has added to tensions between the two countries. It is not yet established if there is enough oil in the area to make drilling viable.

By Ali Sheikholeslami
London Correspondent