- 14 февраля 2012, 14:37
Actor meets Argentinian president and says world cannot tolerate 'archaic commitment to colonialist ideology'
The actor Sean Penn has weighed into the Falklands dispute, urging Britain to join UN-sponsored talks over what he called "the Malvinas Islands of Argentina".
Penn met Argentina's president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, in Buenos Aires and said: "It's necessary that these diplomatic talks happen between the United Kingdom and Argentina. I think that the world today is not going to tolerate any kind of ludicrous and archaic commitment to colonialist ideology."
Last week British officials dismissed claims it was "militarising" the situation in the south Atlantic by deploying nuclear weapons nearby. Argentina said it had intelligence that a Vanguard submarine had been sent to the area, and demanded to know whether it was carrying warheads.
"Thus far the UK refuses to say whether it is true or not," said the foreign minister, Héctor Timerman. "Are there nuclear weapons or are there not? The information Argentina has is that there are these nuclear weapons."
Timerman said Britain was using an "unjustified defence of self-determination" to maintain a military base on the Falklands, which allowed it to dominate the Atlantic. But Britain's ambassador to the UN, Sir Mark Lyall Grant, said the idea that the UK was militarising the situation was manifestly absurd.
David Cameron and Fernández have been trading barbs for months, prompting the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, to express "concern about the increasingly strong exchanges".
Britain deployed one of its most modern destroyers, HMS Dauntless, to the region but insisted the move was merely routine. Prince William's arrival in the Falklands for a posting as an RAF search and rescue pilot further infuriated Buenos Aires. And there were protests after the website of Falklands newspaper the Penguin News ran a photo of Fernández labelled "bitch".