UK, Argentina agree to Falklands measures in sign of thaw


LONDON (AP) — Britain and Argentina announced Wednesday they have agreed to lift restrictions affecting the Falkland Islands, in a thawing of relations between the former wartime enemies.

The two countries released a statement after meetings in Buenos Aires between U.K. Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan and senior Argentine officials, including President Mauricio Macri and Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra.

They agreed to “remove all obstacles limiting the economic growth and sustainable development” of the islands, including restrictions on trade, fishing, shipping and the oil industry.

And they agreed to increase the number of flights between the Falklands and Argentina, adding one new stop a month in each direction.

Britain said it was “the first positive statement on South Atlantic issues since 1999.”

Argentina lost a 1982 war with Britain after Argentine troops seized the South Atlantic archipelago.

Argentina claims Britain has illegally occupied the islands since 1833. Britain disputes the claim and says Argentina is ignoring the wishes of the 3,000 residents, who wish to remain British.

The agreement follows last year’s election of Macri, who has signaled he wants a less confrontational approach to Britain than his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

“It’s clear to me that Argentina is open for business,” Duncan said in a statement. “The measures agreed today demonstrate we can make progress through dialogue.”

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