- Spanish foreign minister to travel for talks on disputed territories
- Argentina to use its UN presidency to highlight Falklands issue
- Tensions between Britain and Spain over Gibraltar increased in recent weeks
Spain is considering a new pact with Argentina over the Falklands as tension with Britain over Gibraltar escalates.
Spanish foreign minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo will travel to Buenos Aires next month to discuss a joint diplomatic offensive over the disputed territories.
Spain has blown hot and cold over supporting Argentina’s long-standing claim to the Falklands.
Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Garcia-Margallo (left) will meet Argentine counterpart Hector Timerman (right) for talks on whether to sign a pact over the disputed territories
Jesus Gracia, its secretary of state for Ibero-America, insisted last year during a visit to Argentina that Spain backed its claim.
But Spain described a dispute between Britain and Argentina over oil exploration off the Falklands as a ‘bilateral issue’ when tempers flared two years ago.
Spain’s relationship with Argentina took a battering when its president Cristina Kirchner nationalised oil company YPF, a subsidiary of Spanish firm Repsol, in April last year.
Respected Spanish daily El Pais said Garcia-Margallo would discuss an alliance in the United Nations over Gibraltar and the Falklands with Argentine counterpart Hector Timerman at a meeting in Buenos Aires early next month.
No-one from the Spanish government was available for comment on the reports today.
Argentina, which started the Falklands War by invading the islands in April 1982, holds the UN Security Council’s rotating presidency this month.
Cristina Kirchner seized the opportunity to renew her country’s demand for talks on the sovereignty of the British-ruled Falkland islands on Tuesday at a a high-level meeting.
The Argentine president said: ‘This is not a fanciful stance. We simply want the United Nations resolution to be enforced and for our two countries to sit down and discuss this.’
Tension between Spain and Britain over the Rock has risen in recent days after Gibraltar dumped 70 concrete blocks into the sea to create an artificial reef and stop Spanish fishermen invading their waters.
Garcia-Margallo threatened to charge motorists £43 a time to cross the border in a newspaper interview in which he declared: ‘The party is over.’
Gibraltar’s First Minister Fabian Picardo responded by accusing Spain of acting like international pariah North Korea.
Downing Street said Spain had agreed to reduce border queues provoked by Civil Guards after an emergency telephone call between David Cameron and Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy.
But the queues have continued with waits of up to three hours yesterday/on Saturday for motorists trying to cross into Spain.