Britain’s former first Sea Lord Admiral Lord West blasts ‘silly’ Argentine populist Javier Milei’s ‘mad’ threats to recapture the Falkland Islands

  • Lord Admiral West said that the UK was ̵6;better prepared’ than in the past 

Britain’s first Sea Lord Admiral has blasted threats from Argentina’s new president Javier Milei to recapture the Falkland Islands.

Lord Admiral West, 75, said that the president-elect would be ‘silly’ to think he could reclaim the archipelago and that there was ‘no prospect’ of a military conflict.

He said that Mr Milei was ‘playing to his own audience’ and pointed to the lack of appetite from the islands’ population for joining Argentina and the UK’s insistence that the issue of sovereignty is not up for negotiation.

Mr Milei, who will take charge on December 10, has vowed to ‘make every effort’ to get the Falkland Islands back but stopped short of saying he would go to the war to claim them.

Referring to Britain’s military power, Lord West said that the UK was ‘better prepared’ than in the past but added that it need to ‘keep its guard up’ over the issue.

Lord Admiral West, 75, said that the president-elect would be ‘silly’ to think he could reclaim the archipelago

Javier Milei vowed to 'make every effort' to claim the islands but stopped short of saying he would go to war over them

Javier Milei vowed to ‘make every effort’ to claim the islands but stopped short of saying he would go to war over them

During his presidential campaign, Mr Milei insisted that questions over the future of the islands 'could not be ignored'

During his presidential campaign, Mr Milei insisted that questions over the future of the islands ‘could not be ignored’

Javier Milei arrives at a performance of Madame Butterfly with his girlfriend Fatima Florez

Javier Milei arrives at a performance of Madame Butterfly with his girlfriend Fatima Florez 

The former Sea Lord Admiral recalled the ‘bloody’ ten-week conflict between Argentina and the UK in 1982, He said it took years to remove the landmines – which were only declared clear five years ago – and that some could still remain.

He told the Sun that the then Argentinian president Leopoldo Galtieri was ‘unpopular’ and used the undeclared Falklands War with Britain to distract from domestic issues.

Argentina believes the Falklands were illegally taken from it in 1833. It invaded the British colony in 1982 and lost the two-month war for the archipelago in a conflict that claimed the lives of 649 Argentines and 255 British soldiers. 

While Britain says the Falkands are self-governing under its protection, Argentina maintains its claims to the islands.

A referendum in 2013 saw 99.8% of its islanders vote to remain British. 

During his presidential campaign, Mr Milei insisted that questions over the future of the Malvinas ‘could not be ignored’, while also saying that the ‘war option’ was not a solution.

He said: ‘What do I propose? Argentina’s sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands is non-negotiable. The Malvinas are Argentine.

‘What we are proposing is to move towards a solution like the one England had with China over the Hong Kong issue and that in this context the position of the people who live on the islands cannot be ignored. ‘

Mr Milei previously hailed Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s prime minister during the Falkland Wars as one of ‘the great leaders in the history of humanity’.

Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982 and lost the two-month war which claimed the lives of 649 Argentines and 255 British soldiers

Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982 and lost the two-month war which claimed the lives of 649 Argentines and 255 British soldiers

British troops patrol the Falkland Islands last year

British troops patrol the Falkland Islands last year

Known as ‘el Loco’ or ‘the madman’, the populist has supported a range of policies including the sale of body organs and scrapping government departments.

He also pledged to ‘drain the swamp’ in curtailing the influence of special interests and lobbyists.

But he blamed Argentinian governments for making a series of errors and accepted that reclaiming the islands would take a ‘long negotiation’.

Argentina’s foreign ministry said its claim to the Falkland Islands constituted a ‘permanent and unwavering objective’ for the nation and rejected Rishi Sunak’s comment that the islands’ sovereignty was not up for discussion.

Another diplomatic row ensued after the European Union appeared to endorse the Argentine name ‘Islas Malvinas’ in a joint declaration between Argentina and other Latin American countries.