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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 April 2007, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
UK 'regret' over Falklands dead
The Argentine war cemetery near Darwin, Falklands
Families of dead Argentines can commemorate on the islands
Britain has expressed "continuing regret" over the deaths on both sides in the Falklands conflict.

Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett released a statement on the eve of Monday's 25th anniversary of the Argentine invasion of the islands.

She said families of dead Argentine personnel could hold a commemorative event on the islands later this year.

Over 900 people died during the 74-day war, including 255 British servicemen, 655 Argentines and three islanders.

'Fitting tribute'

Argentina's invasion, on 2 April 1982, followed friction between the two countries dating back to 1833, when Britain claimed the islands in the south Atlantic.

Argentine forces surrendered on June 14, 1982.

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The war wasn't right and diplomacy wasn't even tried
Paul Goddard, London

Mrs Beckett said commemorative events in the UK and Falklands would be a "fitting and respectful tribute" to those killed.

The statement added: "The UK remains keen to foster a constructive relationship with Argentina, and to promote practical co-operation both in the South Atlantic and on broader issues of international co-operation."

"We have now, with the agreement of the Falkland Islands Government, offered members of families of the Argentine armed forces who fell in 1982 the opportunity to travel to the Islands towards the end of 2007 to hold a private commemorative event at the Argentine cemetery in Darwin."

Tony Blair has said going to war over the Falklands took "political courage" and was "the right thing to do".

Interviewed for the Downing Street website last month he said there had been a "principle at stake".

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague welcomed arrangements for relatives of the Argentine dead to visit the Falklands.

He said: "It is absolutely right to work for improved co-operation with Argentina.

But he said it was important to remember the war "was the result of an unprovoked act of aggression."

"It was the heroism of the gallant British armed services that ensured the right to self determination of the Falkland islanders and the maintenance of international law", he said.






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