Cameron confronts Argentine leader
Prime Minister David Cameron has confronted Argentina's president over the Falklands, as the two met on the margins of the G20 summit in Mexico.
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner attempted to hand Mr Cameron a package marked "UN - Malvinas" but the Prime Minister refused to accept it. He told her she should respect the decision of the Falkland Islanders on their future in a referendum to be held next year.
A Downing Street official later said: "President Kirchner didn't actually try to hand the Prime Minister any document. If they do want to give us a letter, then it's easy enough to find the UK delegation office at the G20. But we don't need an envelope from Kirchner to know what the UN resolutions say. There have only been two binding resolutions, both in 1982, both of which Argentina ignored."
Relations between Britain and Argentina are in the deep freeze after Buenos Aires tried to use the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War to revive its claim on the islands it knows as the Malvinas. Britain has rejected calls made by Ms Kirchner to the UN decolonisation committee last week for direct talks to discuss the future of the disputed territory in the south Atlantic.
The tension between the countries has been ramped up during this week's summit after Mr Cameron singled out Argentina for criticism for its protectionist trade policies. Downing Street aides said the Prime Minister sought out Ms Kirchner to make Britain's position on the Falklands clear. Mr Cameron said: "I am not proposing a full discussion now on the Falklands but I hope you have noted that they are holding a referendum and you should respect their views. We should believe in self-determination and act as democrats here in the G20."
Aides said Mr Cameron gave a "clear and calm message" which he repeated three times as his words were interpreted into Spanish. Ms Kirchner was said to have responded with "ramblings" as she tried to hand the PM the envelope stuffed with documents, but Mr Cameron walked away.
In a speech to a business audience in summit venue Los Cabos, the Prime Minister said G20 countries should be setting an example to the rest of the world by avoiding protectionism and accused Argentina of failing to do so. He cited the case of the nationalisation earlier this year of oil company YPF, which is largely owned by Spanish firm Repsol.
Argentine foreign minister Hector Timerman later called an impromptu press conference in Los Cabos, at which he accused Britain of dodging the opportunity to discuss the Falklands at last week's meeting of the UN decolonisation committee, only for Mr Cameron to raise it out of the blue. He denied that Ms Kirchner was seeking to stage a political stunt by discussing the issue with Mr Cameron in front of an Argentine camera crew.
Challenged during the press conference over why Buenos Aires would not accept the outcome of the war 30 years ago, Mr Timerman said: "Thirty years ago there was a war, 180 years ago there was an invasion by the British of Argentina. Great Britain invaded Argentina four times because the ones who are famous around the world for being colonialists are the British, not the Argentines. Argentina has always opposed colonialism and it fought against it and we won."
Speaking later to UK broadcasters, Mr Cameron said: "I wanted to make absolutely clear here at the G20 to the Argentine president that the people of the Falkland Islands have decided to hold a referendum about their future. And if she believes in democracy, if she believes in self-determination, she will respect the outcome of that referendum. I thought it was important to make that point and I made that point with some vigour."
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