Argentine prez accuses Britain of turning Malvinas into heavily militarized NATO base
BUENOS AIRES, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Argentine President Cristina Fernandez on Wednesday accused the British of converting the disputed Malvinas Islands, known to the Brits as the Falklands, into a heavily militarized NATO base in the South Atlantic Ocean.
While addressing an event here marking the 32nd anniversary of the war over the islands between Argentina and Britain, Fernandez said the British have used the archipelago just off Argentina's coast to establish "a North Atlantic Treaty Organization military base in the South Atlantic."
As a result, the islands become one of the "most militarized areas in the world," with more "military personnel than civilians, " the president said.
The islands, located 600 kilometers off Argentina's southern coast, have been occupied by the British since a military detachment landed there in 1833. On April 2, 1982, the two nations went to war over the islands, after an Argentine navy ship landed there.
The bloody conflict, in which 649 Argentine soldiers, 255 British soldiers and three civilians died, ended with Argentina's withdrawal on June 14 that year, but the territorial dispute remains unresolved.
Last year, the mainly British community living in the Malvinas voted to remain a "British overseas territory," in a referendum organized purportedly to put an end to the dispute. Argentina, however, refuses to recognize the outcome as legitimate, since it involved a "transplanted population."
The United Nations has issued several resolutions on the dispute since 1965, urging the two sides to hold dialogues over the fate of the islands.