Nothing to do with EU: Brussels warned not to take Argentina's side over the Falklands

Nothing to do with EU: Brussels warned not to take Argentina's side over the Falklands

THE Falkland Islands is not the European Union's business, Josep Borrell, the bloc's foreign policy supremo, has been warned, after it was revealed Argentina had written to him in a bid to enlist support for its sovereignty claim - and link the issue to Brexit.

Graham Pascoe recently published a book called Falklands Facts and Fallacies to counter the numerous inaccuracies which he says Buenos Aires has been guilty of over the years in relation to the history of the British overseas territory. Mr Pascoe was speaking after it was revealed Mr Borrell was contacted by the Argentinian government last month.

"But Borrell will soon get a copy of Falklands Facts and Fallacies.

"So even if he doesn't read it, he'll see that the other side's case is being energetically presented."

Speaking earlier this month, Andrew Rosindell, Secretary of the Falkland Islands All Party Parliamentary Group as well as Tory MP for Romford, made it clear the issue of Falklands sovereignty was nothing to do with Brussels.

He told "I think that David Frost has to be abundantly clear to the European Union that in all the negotiations with the European Union, he is negotiating on behalf of the United Kingdom and all of the overseas territories and dependencies to whom we are responsible.

"We are not allowing the EU, or Argentina, or Spain, or anyone else, to try to divide us from sovereign territories to whom we have a duty to include and look after, and ensure that they are able to take advantage of the benefits of us leaving the EU.

"I think it is very clear if they say we are not including the Falklands or Gibraltar or wherever it might be that is a no-no, that's a red line.

"Her Majesty's Government represents in the negotiations all of these territories and dependencies, as well as the UK in those discussions.

"It is not for them to determine on behalf of whom we are negotiating.

"That's a matter for us."

The Falklands itself is not a member of the European Union, but the bloc is an important market for its exports, particularly loligo squid, a likely motivation for the Argentinian government in sending the letter.

The islands lie 400 miles off the eastern coast of Argentina, which has has never relinquished its claim over them.

In 1982, leader General Leopoldo Galtieri ordered an invasion of the remote archipelago, prompting then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to dispatch a task force to the South Atlantic.

The resulting war cost almost 1,000 lives, with Argentina surrendering on June 14.

The election of Peronist President Alberto Fernandez has seen a renewed focus on sovereignty, which his administration has designated to be "a matter of state".

Mr Fernandez last month sent two bills to the country's Senate for ratification, both of which were seen as part of a wider strategy of putting the issue on the agenda.

The first created a body entitled the National Council of Affairs Relating to the Malvinas, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime spaces.

The second sought to establish definitive outer limits of the continental shelf, beyond 200 miles, reaffirming Argentina's presumed rights over the use of the seabed and subsoil of the continental shelf and its natural resources.

Daniel Filmus, Argentina's Secretary of Malvinas, Antarctica and the South Atlantic, commented: "It is of enormous importance that all parliamentary blocks agree that it is necessary that the Malvinas issue becomes a true State policy."

A European Commission spokesman said Mr Borrell had not yet received his copy of Falklands Facts and Fallacies, which is available from es un sitio web oficial del Gobierno Argentino