Theresa May to tell president of Argentina UK will always defend the Falklands at G20 meeting

Theresa May to tell president of Argentina UK will always defend the Falklands at G20 meeting

Theresa May will make it clear to the President of Argentina today that Britain is still prepared to send a task force to defend the Falkland Islands if they are threatened in any way.

The Prime Minister will hold a one-to-one meeting with Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri this evening during the first ever visit of a British Prime Minister to Buenos Aires, which comes 36 years after the Falklands War.

The focus of her meeting at the G20 summit will be on increasing trade between the two countries, but if Mr Macri makes any reference to Argentina’s long-standing claim to the Falkland Islands - a British Overseas Territory - Mrs May will give him short shrift.

"I’m clear that our position on the sovereignty of the Falklands has not changed,” she said as she spoke to reporters on her way to South America

"I’ll be talking to President Macri about issues around trade, about the opportunities for trade. But our position on the sovereignty of the Falklands has not changed and will not change."

Mrs May said the UK had fostered "better relations with Argentina" in recent months and she will today appoint a trade envoy to the country for the first time since the 1982 war.

However Britain has maintained a military presence in the Falklands ever since the war, and Mrs May left no doubt that she would send reinforcements if Argentina, which refers to the islands as Las Malvinas, ever tried to threaten them again.

The Prime Minister will also push for stiffer sanctions against Russia, whose president, Vladimir Putin, is among the world leaders attending the G20.

 Theresa May arrives in Argentina for the G-20 summit

Following Russia’s aggressive actions in off the coast of Ukraine, when it seized ships and sailors of the Ukrainian navy, Mrs May said: "Our message to Russia is very clear, they should release the ships and sailors, de-escalate the situation.

"If you look at what we have seen just over the last year or so this is part of a pattern of Russian behaviour. They should release those ships and sailors, they should de-escalate the situation. We have always been at the forefront in the EU of calling for sanctions on Russia in relation to its behavior.

"We will continue to push for what we consider to be appropriate sanctions on Russia. "Russia could take a different road, Russia could support the rules-based international system and if it did that its position would be a different one. It is choosing to continue with this pattern of behaviour."

Mrs May will hold a face-to-face meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince for the first time since the murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

She said: "I’m intending to speak with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, the message that I give will be very clear, it’s the message that I have consistently given on this issue of Jamal Khashoggi but also on the issue of Yemen, we want to see a full and transparent investigation in relation to what happened to Mr Khashoggi and obviously those responsible being held to account.

"On the issue of Yemen we continue to be deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation. The long-term solution is a political one."

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