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Last Updated: Monday, 2 May, 2005, 22:42 GMT 23:42 UK
Brazil backs ire over Falklands
By Elliott Gotkine
BBC News, Buenos Aires

Action from 1982 Falklands conflict
Bitterness over the UK's "Antarctic Territory" erupted into war in 1982
Brazil has backed Argentina's protests at the inclusion of the Falkland Islands as a British overseas territory in the new European Union constitution.

Brazil's Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said in Paris that his country was discomfited by the islands' inclusion.

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.

Belgrano anniversary

For Argentina, Brazil's backing was timely and welcome.

It came just days after Buenos Aires issued a formal complaint to Brussels about the EU's new constitution.

Perhaps more symbolically, it was also the 23rd anniversary of the sinking of the Belgrano.

The UK attack on the Argentine battleship killed almost 370 people.

Speaking at a memorial service, Argentine Defence Minister Jose Pampuro conceded that the EU's new constitution would affect his country's claim to the Falklands.

An annex of the draft documents classifies the islands as part of the UK's overseas territories.

Argentina fears that if they are enshrined in the EU constitution a dispute that had been traditionally bilateral could go continental.

The UK's response has been muted, saying only that its position with respect to the islands has not changed.

The EU says that overseas territories listed in the draft constitution are the same as in previous treaties.


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