Sunday, June 18th 2017 – 16:06 UTC


Ambassador Mark Kent: “We do not see Argentina as an enemy”
The British ambassador to Argentina, Mark Kent, underlined the United Kingdom’s intentions to “improve” bilateral relations and admitted a meeting between President Mauricio Macri and Prime Minister Theresa May within the framework of the G20 was possible. However, he made it clear that with regards to the Falkland Islands question “the islanders have the right to define their own future.”
According to Kent, relations between the two governments “are better than yesterday and not as good as they can be tomorrow.” He added that “we are in a process of strengthening ties and we want to improve relations with Argentina. We have many things in common today and we want to support Argentina in the G20 and also in the ILO.”
The British ambassador highlighted the shift in the relationship between the two governments since the arrival of Mauricio Macri at the Pink House (Casa Rosada government building). Under the new conditions, “I am confident that there will be more UK investments in Argentina,” Kent said.
“We have seen an interest of the investors in Argentina. The investment process takes time. From the general interest to completion of business takes time. But I am confident that there will be more investments in Argentina. There is much to offer in Argentina in mining, infrastructure, agro industry. Investors are seeking – as in the whole world – transparency, legal security, simplicity of investments, lack of bureaucracy, political security, and the Argentine government understands this well,” he added.
“Argentina has intentions to join the OECD and this would be important in terms of establishing international standards of trade and investment,” Kent elaborated.
When asked about the role the Falklands/Malvinas issue would play in these renewed, better relationship, Kent replied that “the important thing is to show empathy on both sides and to have a policy of greater contacts – conflict has led nowhere and in any relationship there will never be a hundred percent agreement on all issues.”
He went on to specify that “the islanders have rights and they must have the final word on the future of the islands … and the right to define their own future and they will carry their position forward.” But he also announced that his government and the islanders are “ready” to negotiate with Buenos Aires the restitution of flights from the Falklands to the Continent, including an eventual stop in Buenos Aires.
“This is part of the joint statement and we want to achieve this,” Kent said. “We are ready to work on this because I believe that as long as we all have better communications with the Continent it will be better.”
The diplomat also referred to the current operation under the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to identify the bodies of Argentine soldiers buried at the Darwin cemetery.
“We are working with the Red Cross to carry out the identification of soldiers on the islands. We have to take into account the issue of the veterans and we are supporting the contact between veterans of both sides. There is mutual understanding and respect in it. They are people who have experienced extreme experiences and shared the same experience. There is a lot of respect between both sides,” Kent said.
Asked about how things were presently he replied: “I can say that we do not see Argentina as an enemy. But the British government is responsible for the security of the islands.”
He admitted that a meeting between Macri and May at the G20 meeting in Hamburg in July was possible. “I do not yet have confirmation of that meeting, but it is normal that there are meetings between the President and our prime minister in the G20 context,” he concluded as he recalled that Argentina is to chair the G20 in 2018 and host its AGM in Buenos Aires. (Source: Infobae)