Britain's top tabloid scolds Argentina over the Falklands

Fri Jan 4, 2013 2:03pm EST
 
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By Hugh Bronstein and Estelle Shirbon

BUENOS AIRES/LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's biggest-selling newspaper had a simple message for Argentina in an editorial published on Friday in the South American country: "HANDS OFF" the Falkland Islands.

The seven-paragraph epistle, penned by the populist Sun tabloid and published in Argentina's main English language newspaper, came in response to fresh demands from President Cristina Fernandez to open talks over the sovereignty of the South Atlantic archipelago.

The two countries fought a 10-week war in 1982 over the remote islands, which are part of Britain's self-governing overseas territories and are known in Argentina as Las Malvinas.

Britain won the war but Argentina started pressing its sovereignty claim anew last year after oil exploration began in waters near the islands.

"British sovereignty over the Falkland Islands dates back to 1765, before the Republic of Argentina even existed," the Sun said in its open letter to Fernandez, published in both Spanish and English in the Buenos Aires Herald.

"In the name of our millions of readers," the Sun said, "HANDS OFF!"

The Sun, part of media mogul Rupert Murdoch's empire, has a long history of publishing fervently patriotic articles. One of its front pages during the 1982 war it marked the news that British forces had sunk the Argentine warship General Belgrano with the banner headline "GOTCHA."

As the extent of Argentine losses began to emerge, the Sun changed its headline in later editions. A total of 323 Argentines lost their lives in the attack on the Belgrano.   Continued...

 
A British flag is set on fire during a protest by left-wing activists at the Buenos Aires cruise terminal January 4, 2013. Britain's biggest-selling newspaper had a simple message for Argentina in an editorial published on Friday in the South American country: "HANDS OFF" the Falkland Islands. The sign on the back reads: "Get out British pirates". REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian