Argentina says it has information that Britain sent a nuclear armed submarine to the South Atlantic near the disputed Falkland Islands in the latest verbal salvo in a dispute in the territory.
Argentina’s Foreign Minister Hector Timerman told reporters at the United Nations that a submarine called the Vanguard with nuclear weapons was recently sent as part of Britain’s deployment in the Falklands, which Argentina calls the Malvinas. HMS Vanguard is one of four British submarines armed with nuclear missiles.
“Argentina has information that within the framework of the recent British deployment in the Malvinas islands they sent a nuclear submarine…to transport nuclear weapons to the South Atlantic,” said Timerman.
He said Argentina asked the United Kingdom through diplomatic channels if it had introducednuclear weapons to the South Atlantic. But “thus far, the UK refuses to say whether it’s true or not.”
He said the deployment of nuclear arms in the region would violatethe Treaty of Tlatelolco for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, designed to create a nuclear-free zone in the region.
Britain’s UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said later at his own news conference responding to Timerman, “We do not comment on the disposition of nuclear weapons, submarines.”
“I don’t know how he knows about submarines,” he added. “I certainly don’t know. The whole point of nuclear submarines is that they go all around the world and you don’t know where they are. That’s why they’re a deterent.”
As for the treaty, Lyall Grant said that there would be no violation as long as nuclear submarines stayed out of Argentine waters.
Argentina and Britain fought a war over the islands that killed more than 900 people in 1982.
by Mike Hansom