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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 May, 2005, 18:24 GMT 19:24 UK
EU rejects Falklands claim fears
Map of the Falkland Islands
The isolated islands lie off the South American mainland
The EU constitution will not harm Argentina's claim to the Falkland Islands, the European Commission says.

The proposed constitution describes the islands - known in Buenos Aires as the Malvinas - as a UK overseas territory.

A commission spokesman said the annex containing the description had been copied from existing EU treaties. "It affects nothing", he said.

Buenos Aires has complained the new constitution will cement Britain's claims to the Atlantic islands.

But the EC spokesman on Tuesday insisted "nothing has been changed".

"The constitution, which clarifies and includes parts of the various existing EU treaties, mentions the same list of overseas territories as before, and in the same terms," he said.

On Monday, Brazil backed Argentina's protests at the inclusion of the Falkland Islands as a British overseas territory.

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

Historic claims

His comments came just days after Buenos Aires issued a formal complaint to Brussels about the constitution.

Britain rests its case on its long-term administration of the Falklands, and on the principle of self-determination for the islanders, who are almost all of British descent.

British troops raising a flag during the Falklands War
The 1982 Falklands War lasted several months

Argentina says it has a right to the islands because it inherited them from the Spanish crown in 1833.

The arrival of Argentinean troops' on the islands in 1982 sparked the Falklands war, in which around 650 Argentines and 250 Britons died.

At a service marking the wartime sinking of the cruiser General Belgrano on Monday, Argentina's defence minister said the constitution description would affect discussions with London over the islands' ownership.


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