Chancellor Philip Hammond DOESN'T mention the future of the Falkland Islands on trade trip to Argentina (though he does remind his hosts that Britain gave them football)

Chancellor Philip Hammond DOESN'T mention the future of the Falkland Islands on trade trip to Argentina (though he does remind his hosts that Britain gave them football)

Philip Hammond became the first cabinet minister to visit Argentina in 16 years

 Chancellor Philip Hammond did not raise the thorny issue of the Falkland Islands during his visit to Argentina.

Mr Hammond became the first British Cabinet minister to visit the South American country in 16 years this week.

The Chancellor met with President Mauricio Macri in Buenos Aires for trade talks during the historic visit.

He had been urged to stand up for the people of the Falkland Islands during the visit, but the issue was not raised by either side during the meeting, local sources said.

Relations between Britain and Argentina have historically been dominated by the issue of the Falklands, which has been a British overseas territory since 1833.

Argentina continues to claim sovereignty over the islands.

The visit, part of a four-day trip to South America, was designed to revive trade links that never recovered after the 1982 Falklands War.

The Chancellor led a trade delegation including representatives from the London Stock Exchange, Crossrail International and the Bank of England.

No British Cabinet minister has visited Argentina since 2001, when Tony Blair made a symbolic stopover at the Iguazu Falls on the border with Brazil.

Relations have thawed following the election of President Macri, who has adopted a less confrontational stance over the Falklands.

The Falkland Islands are internally self-governing, but Britain is responsible for their defence and foreign affairs and came to their aid during an invasion by Argentina in 1982.

In a 2013 referendum Falklanders voted overwhelmingly to remain a British overseas territory.

In a speech clearly designed to placate his Argentine hosts, Mr Hammond said: ‘We can recapture the spirit of the age when the UK was Argentina’s primary trading partner.

‘The evidence of that time is still all around us: in your schools, in your railways, in your universities, in your football teams. There, I said it.’ 

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