British Prime Minister David Cameron clashes with Pope Francis over Falkland Islands
Pope had praised fallen Argentine soldiers called British presence there a “usurpation”
The British Prime Minister David Cameron has clashed with the new pope over the Falkland Islands.
On the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War last year at a special mass in Buenos Aires, the then Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio praised the Argentinian forces who died following the invasion in 1982.
He stated they "went out to defend their mother, the homeland, to reclaim what is theirs". He went on to say the British re-conquest under the Thatcher government was "usurpation."
The comments were slammed by the Spectator magazine which stated that the-then archbishop has spoken in the manner of a banana republic dictator”
Already Prime Minister David Cameron has differed sharply with the pope over the issue saying that a recent referendum on staying a British colony which passed overwhelmingly on the island proved it wanted to stay British.
"I don't agree with him, respectfully, obviously," Cameron said.
"There was a pretty extraordinarily clear referendum in the Falkland Islands," said the prime minister, "and I think that is a message to everyone in the world that the people of these islands have chosen very clearly the future they want and that choice should be respected by everyone."
Cameron added: "As it were, the white smoke over the Falklands was pretty clear."
The islands have become a point of contention again in recent months with Argentine leader Cristina Kirchner saying “it's as if a bunch of squatters were to vote on whether or not to keep occupying a building illegally."
Argentina maintains they took control of the islands in the 1820s and were driven off by colonial British forces. In recent years rumors of large oil fields near the islands have led to new tensions.
The right wing Spectator magazine in Britain says the election of the pope was not done to annoy the British.
“But it is solipsistic to believe that the Vatican chose simply to annoy us and it may well be that the new pope acquires a degree of neutrality over the issue while he is busy concentrating on the more pressing problem of eliminating homosexuals and ripping up condoms. In the meantime we should treat our minority Roman Catholic population with kindness, understanding and indulgence, whilst quietly reminding them, every so often, that this sort of thing is why we had that schism in the first place.”
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