Argentina has complained about military exercises that Britain is planning this month in the Falkland Islands.

Argentina’s foreign ministry demanded the country call off the “illegitimate” exercises, which include the launching of short range Rapier air defence missiles.

A spokeswoman for the British embassy in Buenos Aires called it a “routine exercise”, the exercise takes place annually.

Argentina issued its complaint not long after the two countries agreed to work together toward removing measures restricting the oil and gas industry on the islands.

Recently, a £19m contract to upgrade the Falklands Mare Harbour was agreed between VolkerStevin, based in Preston, and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation.

The project, which is due to be completed in September 2017, will improve military capability in the Falklands as the current harbour berth is unsuitable for the class of vessel which services the islands. The improvements will better support and facilitate secure mooring for visiting vessels. There will also be a new jetty to support small boat operations.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

“Improving Mare Harbour is an important part of our major investment plan to modernise the Falkland Island’s infrastructure. This will boost the capability of our Armed Forces and help support greater economic opportunities for the Islanders.”

Rob Coupe, Managing Director of VolkerStevin, said:

“We are delighted to be working on the Mare Harbour contract in the Falklands for the DIO. As a specialist in marine construction works, we look forward to working on this design and build project for the roll-on roll-off facility upgrade.

We have worked previously with the DIO and are currently working on a similar project with them at Portsmouth so are happy to be able to build on this existing partnership. We’re so pleased to be working as part of this investment to modernise military infrastructure on the Islands and look forward to starting.”

Mare Harbour is a small settlement on East Falkland, on Choiseul Sound. It is mostly used as a port facility and depot for RAF Mount Pleasant, as well as a deepwater port used by the Royal Navy ships patrolling the South Atlantic and Antarctica, which means that the main harbour of the islands, Stanley Harbour tends to deal with commercial transport.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Maybe we should consider cancelling it. Yes we are completely in our right to do the drills on our own territory, but sometimes its better to suck it up and do something that would be better in the longer term, which is rebuilding relationships with Argentina.

    • And what would Argentina ask for next ? Do you respect the wishes of the Islanders or should their views be disregarded ?

    • A key point to note here is the fact that Argentina were, and always have been, the aggressors, not us. If there were to be any attempt of reconciliation it should come from them. Starting with an apology would be good, and then perhaps withdrawing their claim on the Islands.

      I don’t see any reason why we should soften our stance by cancelling drills.

      • Whilst technically you’re right, someone has to back down to move towards a fully peaceful situation and why shouldn’t it be us. Doing a few things to apease them and give them policitical points, helps towards that. A lasting peace is achieved by someone being the bigger man, if we had gone down the route of they are the agressor we would never had acheived peace in NI for example.

        Cancelling a drill doesn’t have any effect on our ability to defend the island, which is still heavily defended (unforuntely due to the war we have no choice but to keep a strong force there and so can only go so far in apeasing). We have already removed the standing frigate/destroyer, as we don’t see a real threat currently and so a few more relaxing of pressure wouldn’t hurt. This could be quickly reversed if the situation changes.

      • Totally agree with you, the trouble we face is that anything we do on the islands will be monitored and criticised by Argentina likewise with Gibraltar.

        There’s no going back now imo. let’s forge positive relations with the rest of south america.

        It’s important that we don’t project an aggressive image that makes a region consider it’s boarder defences etc which we see in Asia and Europe with the Russians.

  2. Steve, I really don’t think we would stand down our defence drills if America asked us too, let alone Argentina, its just not a reasonable request from another sovereign state ?

    Would we ask the French to stop their defence drills ? and if we did what would you expect the answer to be ?

    The drills arn’t aggressive, they don’t threaten Argentina.

    I’m fully behind reconciliation and have high hoped for their new President, however we all remember the last time a British prime minister followed a policy of appeasement, it would just be foolish to do the same again.

    Diplomacy is the first step. And making unreasonable military demands of your neighbour is a bad diplomatic start.

    • Comparing Argentina that is not in any threanting mode to nazi germany, in regards to appeasement is a poor comparision.

      Diplomacy is all about appeasing when it is worth it, you just have to balance this with the need to show strength when needed. Right now, we do not need to do a show of strength as there is no threat and so we can appease to help smooth things with Argentina and hopefully get better trade deals.

      • p.s. i am not saying that it is an ideal situation and clearly Argentina shouldn’t even be asking us or at least not publically doing it, as it is very much a defensive excersie. However, they did and now we have a chance to show a bit good faith, obviously behind closed doors we should be telling the government that we expect a bit of tit for tac for it. Politics is all a game of give and take.

        We are light years from the position we were in before the first war, where it was clear the UK didn’t want to territory and the foreign office wanted to hand it over, it wasn’t appeasement then, it was simply that we didn’t care. Now we have a strong local presence and a clear foreign policy that we will defend the island if required.

        • So you cancel these routine and inoffensive exercises.

          Argentinian leaders gleefully declare this as a glorious vindication of their position and confirmation that Britain is the aggressor and have acknowledged such.

          …… then what?

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