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Arms Exports To Argentina Resume After UK Lifts Ban

Arms exports to the Argentinian military are set to resume, more than six years after a ban imposed in a row over the Falkland Islands...

Boris in Buenos Aires PA Images

Cover Image: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson meeting Argentinian Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie at the Foreign Ministry in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Pictures: PA Images)

Arms exports to the Argentinian military are set to resume, more than six years after a ban imposed in a row over the Falkland Islands.

Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan said restrictions would still be imposed on exports which could "enhance" Argentina's military capabilities.

It follows just weeks after the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson visited Buenos Aires, where he vowed to "build a partnership and an intensifying relationship" with Argentina.

The restrictions were imposed when Cristina Kirchner was president, but relations have improved under her successor, Mauricio Macri.

Stanley in the Falkland Islands
Stanley in the Falkland Islands

In a written statement to MPs, Sir Alan said: "This change will lift additional restrictions which were imposed in 2012, at a time when the Argentine government was escalating actions aimed at harming the economic interests of the Falkland Islanders.

"Since the election of President Macri in December 2015, the UK's relationship with Argentina has been improving.

"Following these positive developments, the Government believes it is appropriate to now lift the additional 2012 restrictions.

"Under those restrictions it has been the British Government's policy not to grant an export licence for any military or dual-use goods and technology being supplied to military end-users in Argentina, except in exceptional circumstances.

He added: "Our general position now will be to continue to refuse licences for export and trade of goods judged to enhance Argentine military capability.

"However, where like-for-like equipment is no longer available, we may grant licences where we judge they are not detrimental to the UK's defence and security interests."

He told MPs that all applications would still be considered on a case-by-case basis against existing arms export rules.

"We rigorously examine every application on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, and remain prepared to suspend or revoke licences should the level of risk increase."