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Last Updated: Friday, 29 April, 2005, 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK
Outrage at Falklands definition
By Elliot Gotkine
BBC News, Buenos Aires

Action from 1982 Falklands conflict
Bitterness over the UK's "Antarctic Territory" erupted into war in 1982
Argentina has expressed outrage at plans to include the Falkland Islands as a British overseas territory in the new European Union constitution.

Foreign Minister Rafael Bielsa said he had ordered all 25 of Argentina's EU ambassadors to present complaints.

Argentina has long claimed sovereignty over what it calls the Malvinas, which have been in British hands since 1833.

Its 1982 invasion sparked a war during which around 650 Argentines and more than 250 Britons died.

We will wait four, 40 or 400 years but the Malvinas are Argentine
Rafael Bielsa
Argentine foreign minister

The all-out diplomatic assault on the EU's constitution has its roots in an annex of the draft document relating to EU overseas territories.

Specifically, it says that the Falklands, along with nearby islands and a chunk of Antarctica, are all part of Britain's overseas territories.

The UK's claim over these lands is nothing new but if they are enshrined in the EU constitution Argentina fears that what has traditionally been a bilateral dispute could go continental.

Mr Bielsa said his country totally rejected the inclusion of the disputed territories in the draft document.

"We have a dispute," he said. "We will wait four, 40 or 400 years but the Malvinas are Argentine and it will all be worked out. We have to have the same patience as the colonial powers had."

He vowed to complain to Brussels but he also noted that if the constitution was not approved by all 25 EU members then the row would become academic.

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