Britain chides Peru for snub in support of Argentina

By REUTERS
March 23, 2012 06:00
1 minute read.

 
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LIMA - Britain called the Peruvian government "unfriendly" on Thursday after a visit by a British warship to Peru's main port was canceled by Lima to show solidarity with Argentina in its dispute with Britain over the Falkland Islands.

Peru's Congress had approved letting the HMS Montrose frigate dock in the Andean country as part of cooperation to fight drug trafficking in the world's largest producer of coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine.

But the visit was scrapped at the last minute this week by Peruvian Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo. He had initially supported allowing the ship to dock in Peruvian waters - only to realize that would have clashed with a pledge he made to the South American community of nations UNASUR that said Peru supported Argentina's claims to the disputed islands.

"The British government is disappointed by this cancellation and the way it was handled," Britain's Embassy in Lima said in a statement. "Britain is the second-biggest foreign investor in Peru and our countries work closely together in the war on drugs."

The United Kingdom and Argentina went to war over the islands nearly 30 years ago. Tensions persist and the docking of the British ship in Peruvian waters has become a diplomatic proxy battle between Argentina and the United Kingdom.

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