World News



British Queen celebrates

Prince William arrived in the Falkland Islands on Thursday for a six-week deployment with the Royal Air Force (RAF), British officials said, a move Argentina has condemned as a "provocation".

The 29-year-old, who is second in line to the throne, has been deployed to the disputed South Atlantic archipelago as a routine part of his work as an RAF search and rescue pilot, the Ministry of Defence said.

However the timing of the deployment, just ahead of the 30th anniversary of the start of the war between Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands which Buenos Aires claims as its own, has stoked tensions.

"The Ministry of Defence can confirm Flight Lieutenant Wales, as part of a four-man search and rescue (SAR) crew, has arrived in the Falkland Islands on a routine operational deployment and will shortly take up SAR duties post a period of briefings and a familiarisation flight," a ministry spokesman said.

When William's deployment was announced in November, Argentina said it was a "provocative act", and this week the foreign ministry in Buenos Aires said the prince would be arriving in a "conqueror's uniform".


Tensions have not been helped by Britain's announcement this week that it is sending a state-of-the-art warship to the region, although defence officials insisted the move was a purely routine deployment.

HMS Dauntless, a Type 45 destroyer, is due to head out on her maiden voyage in the coming months to replace the smaller Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose in the South Atlantic Ocean.

The Ministry of Defence said William "will be deploying purely in an RAF role and will not be completing any ceremonial roles as the Duke of Cambridge".

The windswept islands, which have about 3,000 inhabitants, have been held by Britain since 1833 although Argentina maintains its claim over the territory.

On April 2, 1982, the then-ruling junta in Argentina invaded, sparking a 74-day war with Britain which cost the lives of 649 Argentine and 255 British troops.

London retained control and has vowed to defend the islands as long as the inhabitants want to be part of Britain.

AFP, photo: Royal Flying Doctor Service