UK plays down Falklands moves amid N- sub reports

Last Updated: Sunday, February 5, 2012 - 22:03

London: Britain sought on Sunday to play down
military moves around the Falkland Islands, as the foreign
minister refused to comment on reports it has moved a nuclear
submarine to the tense South Atlantic.

Britain`s Daily Mail newspaper on yesterday claimed Prime
Minister David Cameron has personally approved plans to send
one of the Royal Navy`s most advanced Trafalgar-class nuclear
submarines to the disputed archipelago.

Speaking on Sky News on today, Foreign Secretary William
Hague declined to confirm or deny the deployment.
"We don`t normally make any comment on the deployment of
our submarines," he said. "But our naval vessels regularly
visit the South Atlantic."

Argentina`s defence minister Arturo Puricelli on yesterday
described the reported deployment as an "unnecessary display
of firepower".

Tension has soared between the two countries in recent
weeks as the thirtieth anniversary of a brief but violent war
over the windswept islands approaches.

Prince William, the second in line to the British throne,
this week began a six-week mission with the Royal Air Force
(RAF) in the Falklands, a move that has infuriated Argentina.

The 29-year-old has been sent to the archipelago as part
of his duties as an RAF Sea King helicopter pilot, a
deployment Britain says is routine but Argentina has slammed
as a "provocation".

Britain has further ratcheted tensions by announcing that
it is to send HMS Dauntless, a state-of-the-art warship, to
the South Atlantic.

Hague today dismissed the deployments as "entirely routine
military movements".

"Prince William is also on a routine deployment that is
part of his job," he added. "We will resist the diplomatic
efforts of Argentina to raise the temperature on this."

The Falklands, known as Las Malvinas in Spanish, have been
held by Britain since 1833 but are also claimed by Argentina.

On April 2, 1982, the then-ruling junta in Argentina
invaded the Falklands, sparking a 74-day war with Britain
which cost the lives of 649 Argentine and 255 British troops.

London retained control and has vowed to defend the
islands as long as the inhabitants want to be part of Britain.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, February 5, 2012 - 22:03

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