Falklands truce? Philip Hammond vows to return to era when Britain was Argentina's main trading partner

Falklands truce? Philip Hammond vows to return to era when Britain was Argentina's main trading partner

Philip Hammond has signalled a truce with Argentina over the Falklands as he vowed to "recapture the spirit of the age" when Britain was the South American nation's main trading partner.

Philip Hammond has signalled a truce with Argentina over the Falklands as he vowed to "recapture the spirit of the age" when Britain was the South American nation's main trading partner.

The disputed islands weren't mentioned once during talks between the Chancellor and Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, according to reports in the country's media.

Instead the two leaders focused on future trade and investment deals between the two countries.

Speaking during a press conference on Thursday, 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."

"Argentina offers several opportunities in different sectors like infrastructure, energy, communications, technology and other services. We expect the UK to expand its shares of investment and trade."

It comes after ministers in Argentina were put under pressure to use the rare visit of a British minister to make fresh demands for talks on the territory's future.

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

Mr Hammond was in Buenos Aires to discuss the agenda for next year's G20 summit, which will be hosted in the Argentinian capital.

He led a trade delegation including representatives of the London Stock Exchange and the Bank of England.

Tensions flared in 2015 when Mr Hammond, who was then foreign secretary, accused the then president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of the "bullying and harassment" of Falkland Islanders.

Mr Macri has been less outspoken than his predecessor over the Falklands, but the islands remain a hot topic among Argentinian voters.

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