Boris Johnson lays wreath in Argentina for Falklands soldiers
The UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, has laid a wreath in Buenos Aires to commemorate those who died in the 1982 Falklands conflict.
Johnson is the first foreign secretary to visit Argentina since 1993, during the second leg of a trade visit to South America. He was visiting the Monumento a los caídos en Malvinas – Malvinas being the name by which Argentinians know the islands in the south Atlantic – with his Argentinian counterpart, Jorge Faurie.
The monument commemorates the 649 Argentinian soldiers who died; but Johnson paid tribute to the casualties on both sides.
He said: “It is an honour to join foreign minister Faurie today, and to lay a wreath at the Monument to the Fallen, commemorating all those who died in the Falkland Islands conflict.”
Britain is keen to strengthen links with Argentina, which were often fraught during the presidencies of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The two countries have recently held talks over fishing rights around the islands.
“The relationship between the UK and Argentina has come a long way over the past few years and this visit will be an opportunity to build on and enhance ever closer cooperation,” Johnson said.
While in Buenos Aires, he will attend a meeting of G20 foreign ministers and hold bilateral talks with the president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri. The two have known each other since Macri was mayor of Buenos Aires and Johnson was the mayor of London.
Johnson has already visited Peru, and will end his trip in Chile. Throughout the trip, he has stressed his enthusiasm for boosting trade with the region.
“As the UK leaves the European Union, my message is that the UK is open for business. I look forward to a new chapter in our relationship, and booming trade prospects, after the UK leaves the European Union,” he said.
His arrival in Argentina comes as Macri wrestles with an economic crisis that has seen interest rates hiked to 40%, and forced the government to apply to the International Monetary Fund for an emergency loan.