Argentina: UK's Falklands Stance Is 'Absurd'

Argentina's president has called Britain's stance on the Falkland Islands "ridiculous and absurd" on the 30th anniversary of her nation's invasion of the archipelago.

"It is unjust that in the 21st century there are still colonial enclaves such as the one we have here," Cristina Fernandez Kirchner said.

"It is absurd to make claim (to the Falklands) from more than 14,000km away when these islands are part of our maritime platform."

Mrs Fernandez Kirchner was speaking at a memorial service at the Monument to the Fallen in Ushuaia for the 649 Argentine soldiers who died in the 74-day conflict on the islands they call Las Malvinas.

Tensions have been rising ahead of the anniversary, with Buenos Aires accusing Britain of militarising the South Atlantic .

The war of words has also been intensified by Prince William's deployment to the islands in his role as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot, the threat of legal action over oil exploration and Argentina's decision to prevent British-linked ships from docking in its ports.

Britain has refused to start talks with Argentina on sovereignty unless the 3,000 residents of the self-governing British Overseas Territory want them to.

In a statement earlier , UK Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Britain remains staunchly committed to upholding the right of the Falkland Islanders, and of the Falkland Islanders alone, to determine their own future.

"That was the fundamental principle that was at stake 30 years ago - and that is the principle which we solemnly re-affirm today."

But, in her speech to veterans and the families of those who died, Mrs Fernandez Kirchner reached out to the islanders, vowing to "respect their interests".

"We don't have war drums, nor do we wear military helmets. Our only helmets are those of construction workers, working for the inclusion of all," she said.

The head of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) will meet UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon to deliver a statement of its support for Argentina's position.

The 74-day conflict ended with a ceasefire and the surrender of an Argentinian commander at Port Stanley on June 14, 1982, after it had claimed the lives of 255 British servicemen and three islanders.

Since then, residents of the Falkland Islands have repeatedly affirmed that they do not wish to become part of Argentina.