The Sun has taken out a full page ad in an Argentinian newspaper telling its president to keep her “hands off” the Falkland Islands.
The ad was in response to an open letter from president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner published yesterday in The Independent and The Guardian calling for the islands to come under Argentine sovereignty.
In today’s letter The Sun says that claims Argentina was stripped of the Falkland Islands 180 years ago were “unfounded”, insisting “no Argentinian civilian population was ever expelled”.
It was published in both Spanish and English in the Buenos Aires Herald, an English-language paper in the capital Buenos Aires said to have a readership of around 50,000.
“No Argentinian civilian population was ever expelled,” said The Sun. “It was an Argentine garrison which had been sent to the islands to try to impose Argentina sovereignty over British sovereign territory.
“British sovereignty over the Falkland Islands dates back to 1765 – before the Republic of Argentina even existed.”
Asked to gauge the response to The Sun’s ad, Argentine journalist Celina Andreassi told BBC Radio 5 live: “Probably anger, people will wonder what has The Sun got to do with it, but again the arguments The Sun puts forward are the arguments the British have generally put forward; the arguments our press put forward are the same as always – basically there's really nothing new.”
The dispute comes ahead of an expected referendum on the islands' political status in March.
Prime Minister David Cameron responded to Kirchner’s intervention yesterday by urging the president to listen to the results of this year’s referendum: "The future of the Falkland Islands should be determined by the Falkland Islanders themselves, the people who live there," he said.
"Whenever they have been asked their opinion, they say they want to maintain their current status with the United Kingdom."
Here is the English translation of today's ad: