Argentina and UK Dispute Heats Up as Prince William Heads to Falklands

England’s Prince William has joined the long-running spat between the United Kingdom and Argentina over the disputed Falkland Islands.

The newly married prince will begin a six-week deployment in the Falkland’s to serve on the crew of one of the Royal Air Force’s two search-and-rescue helicopters.

This move, along with the deployment of an advanced warship to the islands ahead of the prince, has led Argentina to accuse the UK of militarizing their sovereignty in the islands. Argentina “rejected the British attempt to militarize (the) conflict” and regretted that a heir to the throne would arrive wearing “the uniform of a conqueror,” the country’s foreign minister said, according to the Financial Times.

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The British defense ministry downplayed the deployment of the HMS Dauntless, a Type 45 Destroyer, claiming that it was part of a routine mission.

Despite the British reassurances, tensions over the past few weeks have been high in the lead up to the anniversary of the 1982 conflict, when Argentina invaded the islands. British Prime Minster David Cameron has in recent weeks taken a strict stance toward defending the islands and some security experts believe the deployment of the Dauntless is a sign that the British don’t want to take any chances as the anniversary approaches.

The British are also accusing Argentina of planning an economic blockade by attempting to stop all flights from Chile to the islands.

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"If the LAN Chile flight is cancelled it would be pretty difficult to resist the already credible thesis that there is an economic blockade of the civilian population of the Falklands," a senior British diplomat in the region said on Wednesday, according to the Guardian newspaper.

Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner hopes that the diplomatic and economic measures will pressure Britain to comply with United Nations resolutions and encourage negotiations between the two countries, something  the British have refused to do.

The two nations have fought over sovereignty of the islands, which are known as the Malvinas in Spanish, ever since the British re-established rule in 1833. The 1982 invasion by Argentina left more than 600 Argentine dead, 200 British troops killed and weakened the Southern Cone nation’s military dictatorship, helping speed the transition to democracy in Argentina.

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