UK summons Argentine envoy over Falklands “intimidation“

Updated 04 December 2012
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UK summons Argentine envoy over Falklands “intimidation“

LONDON: Britain summoned Argentina’s ambassador to London on Monday after masked men ransacked the offices of a shipping company in Buenos Aires, a move the Foreign Office alleged was aimed at deterring ships from visiting the disputed Falkland Islands.
The Foreign Office said the shipping firm, agents for a cruise company, had been attacked on Nov. 19, causing the cancelation of a planned visit to the islands some 300 miles (482 km) off Argentina’s coast.
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has launched a wide-ranging diplomatic offensive to try to assert Argentina’s claim to the islands 30 years after the Falklands war, angering Britain which says the islanders want to continue to be governed by London.
The Foreign Office, which labelled the shipping office incident a “violent act of intimidation,” said it had summoned Alicia Castro, Argentina’s envoy to London, after earlier invitations had been ignored.
A British official with knowledge of the matter said Britain was concerned it had not received assurances that British-linked firms would not be attacked again. The official said Britain was also worried the attackers may have had state backing.
“It is shameful that elements within a large country like Argentina should seek to strangle the economy of a small group of islands. Such action benefits nobody and only condemns those who lend it support,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.
“We were disappointed that it was necessary formally to summon the ambassador into the Foreign Office. We made several attempts to arrange for a less formal meeting, each of which the Argentine embassy declined,” the statement said.
The Argentine embassy was not immediately available for comment, but the British official said after the meeting that Castro had been “very cross” to have been summoned and that she had accused the Foreign Office of “wasting her time.”
The British official said Britain believed Argentina had been contacting cruise companies and other firms to try to pressure them into not doing business with the Falkland Islands, which Argentina calls the Malvinas.
Fernandez has accused London of maintaining “colonial enclaves” and has demanded the two countries sit down to discuss the disputed islands’ sovereignty — a suggestion Britain has rejected.
Lawmakers in Buenos Aires province passed a bill in August banning ships involved in business activities off the Falkland Islands from mooring at its ports, part of Argentina’s drive to discourage oil exploration in the area.
Argentina had already banned ships flying the Falklands flag from entering the country’s ports. The regional Mercosur trade group backed the move.


Corbyn: Labour government would quickly recognize Palestine

Updated 22 June 2018
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Corbyn: Labour government would quickly recognize Palestine

  • British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said Friday that a government under his leadership would recognize a Palestinian state "very early on" and push hard for a political solution to the Syrian civil war.
  • Corbyn spoke during his first international trip outside Europe since he was elected Labour Party leader in 2015.

ZAATARI REFUGEE CAMP, Jordan: British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said Friday that a government under his leadership would recognize a Palestinian state "very early on" and push hard for a political solution to the Syrian civil war.
Corbyn spoke during his first international trip outside Europe since he was elected Labour Party leader in 2015.
On Friday, he toured Zaatari, Jordan's largest camp for Syrian refugees. On Saturday, he is to visit a decades-old camp for Palestinians uprooted during Arab-Israeli wars.
In Zaatari, he walked through the camp market, lined by hundreds of stalls, where he sampled falafel and chatted with a sweets vendor who told him his dream is to return to Syria as soon as possible. Corbyn also inspected a sprawling solar power installation that provides about 12 hours a day of electricity to the camp's 80,000 residents.
Labour under Corbyn gained parliament seats, but narrowly lost to Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party in 2017 snap elections.
Opinion polling suggests the two parties are neck and neck. Britain is not scheduled to have another election until 2022, but there could be an early vote if May's fragile minority government suffers a major defeat in Parliament.
With his visit to Jordan, Corbyn appeared to be burnishing his foreign policy credentials.
Taking questions from reporters in the Zaatari market, he said that a Labour government would "work very, very hard to regenerate the peace process" in Syria. He said two parallel sets of talks about a solution for Syria would need to "come together," but did not offer specifics.
Without a solution in Syria, "the conflict will continue, more people will die in Syria and many many more will go to refugee camps, either here in Jordan or come to Europe or elsewhere," he told The Associated Press.