Argentina celebrates as Clinton calls on UK for talks over Falklands future

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Buenos Aires (Argentina), Mar. 3 (ANI): Argentina is celebrating a diplomatic coup after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Britain to accept talks on the future of the Falkland Islands.

Clinton's statement came after a two-hour meeting with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, reports The Times.

Responding to a request from Kirchner for "friendly mediation" between Britain and Argentina, Clinton said she agreed that talks were a sensible way forward and offered "to encourage both countries to sit down".

Her intervention defied Britain's longstanding position that there should be no negotiations unless the islands' 3,000 inhabitants asked for them.

It was hailed in Buenos Aires as a major diplomatic victory, but condemned in the Falklands.

Britain insisted there was no need for mediation as long as the islanders wanted to remain British.

"We don't think that's necessary," a Downing Street spokesman said.

Clinton is on a five-day sweep through Latin America. She left Washington at the weekend. She was scheduled to spend just ten minutes with Kirchner on the fringes of the inauguration of the new Uruguayan President in Montevideo. Argentina was not on her itinerary.

The Argentine leadership lobbied hard for more respectful treatment and was rewarded with one of the most closely watched American visits since President Bush attended a summit in Buenos Aires in 2005.

Clinton's meeting with the flamboyant, but vulnerable Kirchner ended amid smiles and laughter. (ANI)

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