Putin Signs Anti-UK Military Pact With Argentina: Falklands Dispute May Get Complex As Russia Steps Up Support

By @diplomatist10 on
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, December 18, 2014. The rouble edged lower against the dollar on Thursday, with traders saying Putin had offered few concrete measures at his end-of-year news confer
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow, December 18, 2014. The rouble edged lower against the dollar on Thursday, with traders saying Putin had offered few concrete measures at his end-of-year news conference to pull Russia out of a crisis. Reuters/Stringer

With Argentina seeking Russia's military cooperation, the Falklands dispute with the U.K is set to get more complex. Recently, Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez and Russian president Valdimir Putin met in Moscow and signed 20 bilateral cooperation agreements related to different fields, including defence, while calling the bilateral ties as “strategic.”

Throwing an indirect challenge to the U.K, Russian president Putin announced that the two countries would be increasing “military collaboration.” The newly signed agreement on military cooperation and data protection speaks about expanding “practical cooperation."

Russia’s Support Hailed

Ms Fernandez, on her part, thanked Russian president for his support to her country’s dispute with the U.K. over Falkland islands, in which both sides have been adamant on their respective claims. The Argentinian president said: “We thank Russia for the support it has historically provided in Malvinas question, in having resolutions of the United Nations observed so the United Kingdom resolves to sit in the table to dialogue."

The Russian president said, “Russia supports Argentina's striving for direct talks with Britain to achieve prompt resolution to the Malvinas Islands dispute.”  However, Britain’s Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has asserted its intent to safeguard the security of the island’s residents.

Genesis of Dispute

In April 1982, Argentina and the U.K fought a shirt war over the Falkland Islands after Argentina asserted its rights over it. At the end of the 10 -week war, 655 Argentine and 255 British servicemen were killed. Argentina claims that it inherited the Falkland Islands after it became independent from Spain. Britain claims that it first discovered the archipelago and settled there long before Argentine made its claims. The U.K. also argues that Falkland Islanders have the right to decide their future and in the self determination they have already opted for Britain.

Common Interest

Besides Falklands, Argentina and Russia have a broader agenda to work on, argued ex Russian diplomat Evgeny Astakhov. He added that a strong cooperation between Russia and Argentina can pursue other major goals such as changing the global financial situation and reducing the dominance of U.S. dollar, by doing their bilateral trade in the local currencies--Peso and Rouble.

According to the diplomat, the new cooperation agreements between Argentina and Russia could be the former’s response to the situation in Falkland Islands. He told the Sputnik News that the West has traditionally supported the United Kingdom in the dispute. At the same time, the former ambassador cautioned that a conflict with the United States will not be n the interests of Argentina. He said, Argentina as an independent and economically self-sufficient country with abundant reserves of oil and gas is of interest to Russia.

For feedback/comments, contact the writer at k.kumar@ibtimes.com.au)