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Invading the Falkland Islands was a cowardly act, says Argentine president
by UK Independent (reposted)
Sunday Apr 2nd, 2006 10:56 PM
Argentina's war with Britain over the Falkland Islands was a crime committed by a cowardly military dictatorship, but the South American country will never abandon its claim to sovereignty of the islands, President Nestor Kirchner said.
In a ceremony to mark the 24th anniversary of the Argentine invasion of the remote South Atlantic islands, Mr Kirchner criticised the military junta then struggling to control economic crisis in Argentina for sparking the war to try to bolster its faltering image.

"To save itself, the dictatorship planned and executed a war while lying about its intentions," Mr Kirchner said. "Malvinas was a great frustration," he added, using the name Argentina gives to the islands. "We have to recognise our mistakes in order to face our future. The desire to forget blame cannot be allowed to erase our memory," he said, addressing military leaders and veterans.

Argentina marked the 30th anniversary last week of the coup that ushered in one of Latin America's most brutal dictatorships. An estimated 30,000 people disappeared without trace in what was known as the dirty war.

"Argentina's leaders showed cowardice [over the Falklands war]. With all respect for the heads of our armed forces, they were cowardly generals," Mr Kirchner said, describing the invasion as "one more crime of the dictatorship".

Seeking to distract attention from rocketing inflation, falling growth, rising unemployment and mounting opposition to human rights abuses, General Leopoldo Galtieri, the head of Argentina's ruling military junta in 1982, ordered what was expected to be a swift military campaign to seize the islands, which Argentina has claimed since the 19th century.


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