28/02/2012 12:09 GMT

Falkland Islands: Foreign Office 'Sad' That Argentina Is Being Unfriendly

The British government has said it is "very concerned" that Argentina decided to turn away British tourists wishing to visit the South American country as a result of the ongoing row over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.

Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne told MPs on Tuesday afternoon that Britain made "frequent representations" to Argentina and other countries in the region to lift the ban on Falkland Islands flagged ships from docking in their ports.

"It is a source of sadness and frustration to us that people who are on holiday and wanting to further relations between ourselves and Argentina on a person to person basis are not being able to do so," he said.

Browne told the House of Commons that the UK approached Argentina "in the spirit of friendship" and it was a "source of sadness" that they did not always do the same.

On Monday two British cruise ships were refused entry to an Argentinian port. The P&0 Cruises' ship Adonia and the Princess Cruises' vessel Star Princess were not allowed to dock at Ushuaia on the southern tip of Argentina.

Both vessels, part of the Carnival company cruise fleet, had called at the Falklands on Saturday.

Browne, who is due to visit the islands as part of the ceremony to mark 20 years since their liberation from Argentine occupation, was responding to questions from Labour shadow foreign minister John Speller, who said move was was "outrageous" and "completely unjustified".

Buenos Aires has reacted angrily in recent weeks to the deployment of an advanced Royal Navy ship to the region, as well as the decision to send Prince William to the islands as a RAF search and rescue pilot.

Following the debate in the Commons, the Foreign Office sent a supportive tweet to a Falkland Islands based Twitter account, informing them that the British government took the issue seriously.