Argentina Brands Prince William's Posting To Falkland Islands A 'Provocative' Act

Prince William

First Posted: 11/11/11 23:42 Updated: 11/11/11 23:53   PA

The Duke of Cambridge's posting to the Falkland Islands has been branded a "provocative act" in Argentina.

William, a Flight Lieutenant with the RAF, will be deployed to the remote outcrop in the South Atlantic for six weeks to fly search and rescue helicopter missions next year.

But Argentine official Sebastian Brugo Marco said the country could not ignore the "political" implications of his move, which comes shortly before the 30th anniversary of Argentina's defeat in the Falklands War.

Mr Brugo Marco, who has responsibility for the South Atlantic territory, told Argentine newspaper La Nacion: "It is one more provocative act that shows Britain's military presence in a zone of peace where there is no armed conflict."

Argentina still claims sovereignty over the islands, which it refers to as Las Malvinas. "One cannot ignore the political content of this military operation bearing in mind that the prince forms part of the Royal Family," Mr Brugo Marco added.

The Ministry of Defence has insisted that William's posting - as part of a crew of four RAF personnel - is a "routine deployment" and forms part of a "normal" squadron rotation.

William will be alone while based in the Falklands, leaving wife Kate at their home at Kensington Palace between February and March.

He will be following in the footsteps of his uncle, the Duke of York, who served during the Falklands conflict as a Sea King helicopter pilot. Since then, the British Government has said the islands should remain a British territory, if that was the wish of its inhabitants.

Earlier this year, President Cristina Kirchner accused David Cameron of "mediocrity bordering on stupidity" when the Prime Minister upheld this position. She has insisted Argentina and Britain should negotiate over the South Atlantic islands, over which the two countries fought a 10-week war in 1982.

Based at RAF Valley in Anglesey, north Wales, the Duke of Cambridge qualified as an RAF Search and Rescue Force (Sarf) helicopter co-pilot last September. In recent months he has been intensifying his work with the aim of qualifying for a captaincy.

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Filed by Michael Rundle  |