Falkland Islands: Spain steps in as FOUR former prime ministers call for talks after war clash | World | News

PMQ: Johnson slams opposition to Falklands backlash

It comes after London and Buenos Aires clashed again over territory last week on the anniversary of the bloody war between the two nations. Argentina’s Foreign Office has dismissed so-called “belligerent threats” and “disparaging references to Argentina” made by British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace. In response to rising tensions, four former Spanish prime ministers – Felipe González, José María Aznar, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Mariano Rajoy – called for a resumption of dialogue between the two countries.

The four major Spanish politicians are part of a newly formed group to support dialogue between the two countries.

The group also includes former Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo and former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana.

Mr. Solana has also served as High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union.

A statement released by the Argentine Embassy in Madrid confirmed that the group was formed “in accordance with Spain’s historical support for dialogue as a mechanism for resolving the sovereignty dispute over the Malvinas Islands, Georgia South, the South Sandwich Islands and surrounding maritime areas”.

Spain weighed in on Falkland Islands row (Image: Getty)

Ben Wallace

Argentina have rejected so-called ‘belligerent threats’ made by Ben Wallace (Image: Getty)

He added, “Members of this dialogue support group have expressed their strong commitment to international law and the peaceful resolution of disputes between states.”

“We reaffirm the need for the governments of the Argentine Republic and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to resume, as soon as possible, negotiations aimed at finding an early solution to the sovereignty dispute over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and surrounding sea areas.

“In this regard, we underscore the successive resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly urging the Secretary-General to exert good offices efforts to resume negotiations with a view to finding a peaceful solution to the dispute as soon as possible.”

The UK is in a long-running dispute with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, known as Las Malvinas in Argentina, with the UK claiming sovereignty over the territory.

READ MORE: ‘The Falklands are ours’ Argentina claim their home

Felipe González

Felipe González was one of the former prime ministers calling for new talks on the Falklands (Image: Getty)

Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo

The group also includes former foreign minister José Manuel García-Margallo (Image: Getty)

The Falklands War, which took place in 1982, saw Britain and Argentina fight for control of the territory.

While the conflict lasted just 74 days, long-running tensions over the territory remain, with Britain refusing to resume negotiations with Argentina.

The recent tension between the countries emerged last week after Mr Wallace warned that the UK would “stand up to bullies”.

Speaking at the Falklands 40 Margaret Thatcher Day Conference, the Defense Secretary said: ‘Our enemies should have no doubt in Britain’s determination to stand up to bullies, to stand up for those who cannot defend themselves and our values.

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British military power

British military power (Picture: Express)

“Distance will not deter Britain, nor will the scale of the challenge. History is littered with the consequences of those who underestimated this small island.”

In response, the Argentine Foreign Ministry said, “His bellicose threats and disparaging references to Argentina are incompatible with existing diplomatic relations.”

In November last year, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez reiterated that the disputed Falkland Islands, known as Islas Malvinas in Argentina, will always belong to his nation.

Speaking ahead of the 40th anniversary of the war, President Fernandez said: “The Falklands were, are and will be Argentines.”

Ben Wallace

Ben Wallace warned last week that the UK would ‘stand up to bullies’ (Image: Getty)

“We will fight until they are ours again.

“Argentines must understand the dimension of our homeland, and on this map the Falklands are included, because they were, are and will be Argentine.

“Despite what some may think, there is no doubt about the right we have to these lands.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.