Argentina proposes air of conciliation

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Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez made a surprise conciliatory gesture by seeking negotiations with the UK to set up weekly flights from Buenos Aires to the Falkland Islands.

A sceptical Roger Edwards, chairman of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly, said direct flights from Argentina’s capital were “about as likely as the Falklands Air Service landing flights on the moon”.

No airline currently flies direct from Argentina to the UK-controlled islands. The only commercial link is a weekly round-trip by Chilean-owned LAN airlines, which crosses Argentine airspace to the islands. The return flight stops once a month in the far southern Argentine city of Rio Gallegos.

Ms Fernandez had threatened in a United Nations speech last year that she might close Argentine airspace to the LAN flight.

However, on Thursday she appeared to reverse that position, telling Argentina’s congress that flights by state-owned Aerolineas Argentinas would show the world that the country’s aims were peaceful.