UNNECESSARY THREATS ARE PREVENTING BUSINESS PROSPERITY FOR FALKLANDS AND ARGENTINA, SAYS FCO HUGO SWIRE MP
The Minister of State for the Foreign Office and Commonwealth, The Rt. Honourable Hugo Swire MP, reiterated the message that Britain strongly supports the Falklands and that threats from Argentina were "counterproductive and unnecessary" on his visit last week.
Speaking at a press conference, Mr Swire said that the hostile feeling of the Argentinean government was preventing bilateral trade and economic prosperity between nations.
"I think Argentina should be a good neighbour and there's absolutely no reason to continue with their levels of intimidation. Be it in threatening the [LAN] flight, be it in trying to introduce totally counterproductive measures on fisheries, be it threatening companies who get involved in the hydrocarbon exploration here with legal cases against them in Argentina."
He added that a 'totally new approach to the islanders' from Argentina would be needed to repair relations, and pointed out that this change might only be possible following the next Argentinean election.
Mr Swire said he looks forward to a future where the dispute over sovereignty of the Falklands can be put aside, in favour of the two nations concentrating on mutual business links: "Even if we agree to disagree…and get on with the business of growing our bilateral trade and improving each other's quality of life.”
Referencing back to the Referendum last year, he added: "I would say to the Argentineans, that they should have peaceful coexistence with the people of the Falkland Islands. The Falkland Islands have spoken, three people didn't vote to continue the status quo, in an extraordinary turnout and I think that is settled."
Mr Swire, spent several days on the Islands visiting key industries to discuss the economic future of the islands, particularly in the likelihood that oil and gas is found. As well he visited settlements in Camp, including San Carlos and Goose Green to pay his respects to the British and Argentinean memorial sites.