LONDON - Britain said on Friday that Argentinian-led efforts to ban ships flying the Falkland Islands flag from South American ports were "unjustified and counterproductive" and vowed to protect the territory's sovereignty.
The comments by Prime Minister David Cameron were the government's strongest yet as tensions between Britain and Argentina escalated almost 30 years after the two countries went to war over the British-ruled islands.
On Tuesday the South American trading bloc Mercosur announced the ship ban in act of solidarity with Argentina.
"Argentina continues its unjustified and counterproductive efforts to disrupt shipping around the islands and to deter business from engaging in legitimate commerce," Cameron said in a Christmas radio message to the Falkland Islands.
"Let me be absolutely clear. We will always maintain our commitment to you on any question of sovereignty. Your right to self-determination is the cornerstone of our policy," he said.