Falklands Row: Argentina Hits Back At Cameron Over Colonialist Remarks

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Argentina's foreign minister has described Britain as being in "imperial decline" after David Cameron accused the country of "colonialism" over the Falkland Islands.

Hector Timerman accused the prime minister of rewriting history, according to Argentina'sTelam news agency.

"Obviously at a time when there are only remnants of colonialism, Great Britain, in an imperial decline, decides to rewrite history," he was quoted as saying.

“Not even the English newspapers support Cameron”.

Speaking on Thursday in in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, foreign secretary William Hague said the days of the UK's "diplomatic retreat" from Latin America were over: “We welcome a stronger role in world affairs for Latin American countries, although where we have our own views over issues such as the Falkland Islands we will always be frank about them. We will always uphold UK sovereignty and the rights of the Islanders to self-determination, while valuing the ability to discuss these issues with Brazil in a framework that respects international law and human rights.”

Timerman's comments come after the prime minister confirmed on Wednesday that the relationship with Argentina was discussed at a full-length National Security Council.

Cameron told MPs: "We support the Falkland Islanders' right to self-determination, and what the Argentinians have been saying recently, I would argue is actually far more like colonialism because these people want to remain British.

"I'm determined we should make sure that our defences and everything else is in order, which is why the National Security Council discussed this issue yesterday."

There is rising tension between Britain and Argentina over the islands, as the 30th anniversary of the Falklands war approaches.

The majority of islanders are said to support their British heritage.

A trade embargo with the Falklands by various South American countries - called for by the Argentine government - came into force earlier in January.

Under the terms of the embargo, vessels carrying the Falklands' flag are banned from docking in the ports of several South American nations, in a move the Falklands' government says is designed to stifle their economy.

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The News Matrix: Thursday 19 January 2012