Revealed: Argentina's sly plan to use no-deal Brexit chaos to prise the Falkland islands away from Britain

Revealed: Argentina's sly plan to use no-deal Brexit chaos to prise the Falkland islands away from Britain

•Foreign minister Jorge Faurie met with his counterpart Jeremy Hunt in London •Discussed increasing trade and travel links between the islands and Argentina •Mr Faurie said: 'Our plan is to generate a greater link between the mainland' •Some interpreted his comments as part of a plot to use Brexit to take control

Brexit brings  a  chance  to  strengthen  ties  between  Argentina  and  the  Falkland  Islands,  the country's foreign minister said yesterday.

Jorge  Faurie  met  with  his  counterpart  Jeremy  Hunt  in London where  the  pair  discussed increasing trade and travel links between the islands and South America.

Afterwards Mr Faurie said: 'Our plan is to generate a greater link between the mainland and the insular part.'

Rightly or wrongly, some interpreted his comments as part of a plot to use Brexit to ultimately take control of the islands

The Daily Telegraph said Mr Faurie is trying to 'exploit the situation to "enhance" efforts to  pull the islands away from the UK.'

The  uno fficial  Falklands  Islands  twitter  account,  which  has  70,000  followers,  tweeted  the Telegraph's story with the caption: 'Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough.'

Brexit  brings  uncertainty  for  the  Falklands  because  EU  member  states  will  no  longer  be obliged to help protect Britain's claims over sovereignty.

This  is  because  a  treaty  called  theDuty  of  Sincere  Cooperation -which  includes  a  legal obligation for member states to assist each other over sovereignty -will no longer apply to Britain.

Argentine President Mauricio Macri's previous foreign minister pointed to this when she said last year: 'When Brexit takes place, the EU could evaluate a decision on how to proceed and how to stand on these issues –and there may be a change.'

However, Mr Faurie's comments yesterday were conciliatory and emphasised co-operation between Britain and Argentina.

He  told  Argentina's  largest  newspaper Clarín:  'We  have  a  relationship  with  the  British government, which includes the dialogue of those who live on the islands.

'Our relationship is to generate a greater link between the mainland and the insular part.

'That  those  who  live  in  the  islands  feel  that  they  can  reach  the  continent  to  educate themselves, to take care of themselves in health issues and to do business.

'The way we can have dialogue with those arriving from the islands will only have a positive effect and faced with rationa lity.

'At this moment we are analyzing having a greater air connection,  which facilitates the link between the continent and the islands.

'This will only help to create trust and better knowledge of one and other.'

A  statement  released  by  Argentina's  government  said  Mr  Hunt  and  Mr  Faurie  agreed  to 'strengthen  bilateral  work  to  achieve  greater  co-operation  between  governments  and  the private sector.'

Some analysts say increased trade with Argentina and South America will be essential for the Falkands to survive after Brexit.

This is because the islands currently rely heavily on tariff-free access to the EU single market where it sells meat, fish and other products, sales which generate 70 per cent of its GDP.

The foreign ministers' meeting at the British Foreign Office comes before

Theresa May is due to meet Argentina's president at the G20 in Buenos Aires on November 30.

The Falkland Islands is a British overseas territory off the east coast of South American which is claimed by Argentina.

In 2013, 99.8 per cent of its 3,398 inhabitants voted to remain British. They did not get to vote in the Brexit referendum.

Mr Faurie arrived in London for a 48-hour visit to speak at the Latin American Conference at the think tank Chatham House.

 

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