Garcia-Belaunde: Peru Unlikely To Back Argentina Again In Falkland Dispute

Peru’s former Foreign Affairs minister, Jose Antonio Garcia-Belaunde, says it is unlikely that Peru would back Argentina if there were a new conflict with the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands, newspaper El Comercio reported.

Garcia-Belaunde’s comments come a couple of weeks after his successor, Rafael Roncagiolo, has said that Peru supports Argentina’s claim to sovereignty of the islands, following Britain’s protest against Mercosur, which has closed ports in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay to ships flying the Falklands flag.

The UK has had control over the Falkland Islands since the 19th century, although Argentina has always considered them —the Islas Malvinas— part of its territory.

In 1982, Argentina invaded the South Atlantic islands, which provoked a 74-day war with the UK that resulted in Britain regaining control of the islands.  Casualties included 250 British soldiers and 650 Argentine soldiers dead, and the sinking of the HMS Sheffield and the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano.

“There is historically a very tight relationship between the Armed Forces of Peru and the Armed Forces of Argentina,” Garcia-Belaunde said, noting that this relationship led Peru to support Argentina in the war. 

In April and May 1982, Peru secretly provided a squadron of 10 to 14 (sources differ) Mirage V fighter jets, weapons that included torpedoes and Exocet missiles, and its Navy provided the transport for war materiel to Argentina that had been acquired in Israel.

Garcia Belaunde said, however, that Peru would likely stay on the sidelines in the event of another conflict. He said the relationship between Peru and Argentina was hurt as a result of Argentina selling arms to Ecuador to support a brief 1995 war with Peru.

The Cenepa war was a brief territorial dispute between Peru and Ecuador over 48-miles of an unmarked border area in the Cordillera del Condor, the dense cloud forest mountain range that straddles both countries.

Former Argentinean President Carlos Menem was found to be illegally trafficking arms to Ecuador leading up to and during that war.

This was particularly offensive to Peru given not only the long history of close ties between the military of Argentina and Peru but even more so because Argentina was a guarantor —with the U.S., Chile and Brazil — of the Ecuador-Peru peace treaty signed in 1942.  

“I think that after what happened in Cenepa, it is very difficult for the relationship to be the same,” said Garcia Belaunde, referring to Peru and Argentina.

One Comment

  1. johan veratudela says:

    Yes, is very unlikely that Peru would back argentina again. Sometime, stupid president makes terribless mistakes that is led to spoil a good relationship.

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