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20/06/2012 | South America - David Cameron and Argentina's Cristina Kirchner in clash over Falklands

Jonathan Gilbert

David Cameron was involved in an extraordinary confrontation with Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner at the G20 Summit in Mexico as she attempted to hand documents to the Prime Minister related to the Falkland Islands.

 

The two leaders are understood to have met unexpectedly on the fringes of the G20 Summit and exchanged words.

Some reports indicated it was Mr Cameron who sought out President Kirchner. He told her that she should "respect the views" of Falklandresidents who have announced they are to hold a referendum on the issue of control of the islands.

Mrs Kirchner attempted to hand an envelope to Mr Cameron but he refused to accept it.

Héctor Timerman, the Argentinian foreign minister, said: "Nation states have the obligation to talk. We prepared an envelope containing various papers, but the British Primer Minister refused to receive it.

"Britain continues to refuse to talk. And what surprised me most was that David Cameron did not go to the UN decolonisation meeting on Thursday."

Mr Timerman said Mr Cameron had asked Mrs Kirchner to respect a referendum the islanders will hold next year on their future sovereignty.

It was at that point that the Argentinian leader tried to hand over the envelope.

"But Cameron told her he wouldn't discuss sovereignty," Timerman said.

Mr Timerman confirmed that the envelope contained various UN resolutions that call for the Britain and Argentina to discuss the future of the islands.

He said the two had opened their encounter with a brief exchange of words on economic issues, before turning to the Falklands.

Mrs Kirchner headed a Argentine delegation at the UN last week during which members of the islands' legislative assembly were prevented from handing over a letter in which they asked Argentina to stop "harassing" them.

Mr Timerman said the islanders were simply looking for a "photo opportunity".

The envelope contained 40 resolutions, according to Mr Timerman.

Mrs Kirchner had the Falklands envelope in between other papers and said she would like to hand it over, adding that what should "really be respected" are the 40 UN resolutions and the decolonisation committee.

Mr Cameron said he would not speak about sovereignty. He refused to receive the envelope and walked away.

"It wasn't the time or place," Mr Timerman said. "Last week at the UN was the moment to discuss the Malvinas [the name for the islands in Spanish], but Cameron wasn't there."

Mr Cameron said Argentina should "listen to what the islanders want" during a press conference at the summit.

Yesterday, he criticised Argentina for its protectionist economic policy and its recent expropriation of oil company YPF from Repsol, the Spanish energy giant.

The exchange ended when Mrs Kirchner insisted Britain respect the UN and Mr Cameron walked away.

Telegraph (Reino Unido)

 


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