21/Aug/2014 - Last News Update: 02:47

UK sent nuclear sub near Falklands, says Argentina

Category: Politics

Published: 10th Feb 2012 22:18:17

Argentina's foreign minister has accused the UK of sending a nuclear-armed submarine to the South Atlantic, after making an official complaint to the UN over the Falklands dispute.

Hector Timerman demanded that the British confirm the location of nuclear submarines in the region.

But UK officials said the accusations of militarisation were "absurd".

UN chief Ban Ki-moon earlier called on both sides to avoid an "escalation" in tensions over the Falkland Islands.

The two countries went to war in 1982 over the British overseas territory.

Mr Timerman told a news conference at the UN in New York that the UK was "militarising the region", repeating accusations made by Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner earlier this week.

"Argentina has information that, within the framework of the recent British deployment in the Falklands, they sent a nuclear submarine with the capacity to transport nuclear weapons to the South Atlantic," Mr Timerman said.

He did not elaborate on the information, but said the vessel was Vanguard-class, a group that carries Trident nuclear missiles.

Argentina's foreign minister came armed with maps and photographs to make his case to the Secretary General, the head of the Security Council, and the press.

Britain, he claimed, is bringing new state-of-the art weapons into the South Atlantic, and has sent a nuclear submarine into a nuclear-free weapons zone. It is a threat to regional security he said.

The British ambassador Mark Lyall Grant called the accusations an escalation. He would not be drawn on the location of Britain's nuclear submarines, but said they stayed in international waters. He also spelled out in detail Britain's stance that the dispute over the Falklands is not one of sovereignty, as Argentina insists, but one of self-determination: the islanders must be allowed to determine their own fate, he said, and they want to be British.

He added that Mr Ban had agreed to talk to the British about Argentina's complaints.

The Latin America and the Caribbean region is designated a nuclear-free zone under a treaty signed in the 1960s.

In response, Britain's UN envoy Mark Lyall Grant said the government does not comment on the "disposition of nuclear weapons, submarines etc".

And he dismissed the accusation that the UK was militarising the situation as "manifestly absurd".

"Before 1982 there was a minimal defence presence in the Falkland Islands," he said.

"It is only because Argentina illegally invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982 that we had to increase our defence posture. Nothing has changed in that defence posture in recent months or recent years."

The UK had earlier said it was carrying out routine operations in the South Atlantic.

The BBC's Barbara Plett at the UN in New York says the dispute is raised every year at the UN, and usually involves both sides sending letters to the secretary general.

But this year is the first time Argentina has provided such a detailed and public account of its grievances, she says.

It is not clear if Argentina plans to pursue any further action at the UN beyond the current protest.

The UN General Assembly has already passed non-binding resolutions urging the two to solve the dispute through negotiations.

Mark Lyall Grant responds to the accusations

The UK says the islanders have the right to self-determination, and London will enter into negotiations on the status of the Falklands only if the islanders request it.

The status of the islands, known in Argentina as the Malvinas, is still a highly sensitive issue for Buenos Aires.

In recent months, the Argentine government has stepped up its rhetoric on the issue and has sought support among its South American neighbours.

In December, regional trading bloc Mercosur closed its ports to ships flying the Falkland Islands flag.

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. UK sent nuclear sub near Falklands, says Argentina [Online] (Updated 10th Feb 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/224706/UK-sent-nuclear-sub-near-Falklands-says-Argentina [Accessed 21st Aug 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • US judge: Shakira hit song Loca 'broke copyright laws'

    A hit song by Colombian pop star Shakira was indirectly copied from another songwriter's work, a federal judge in New York has found.
  • Gossip column: Alonso, Balotelli, Rhodes and Cech

    For a list of confirmed transfers, check out the transfers page.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Labour pledges to remove 'bad' energy firms licences

    Labour says it will give the regulator Ofgem power to remove energy firms' licences, if it wins the next election.
  • Pro-choice rally at Belfast City Hall

    More than 100 abortion pro-choice activists have held a demonstration outside Belfast City Hall.
  • Treasury Wine Estates hit as it destroys excess wine

    Australian winemaker Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has reported its first annual loss due to slower sales in China and oversupply in the US market.