September 1, 2000

South American nations step up support to Argentina on Falklands

                  BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) -- South American presidents on Friday criticized
                  Britain for maintaining its claim on the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic,
                  and stepped up their support for Argentina's claim on what it calls the
                  Malvinas islands.

                  The region's first summit issued a brief statement calling the islands' status a
                  "colonial situation ... incompatible with the ideals of peace, security and

                  It was the first time a South American regional group defined the islands'
                  situation as "colonial."

                  Argentina has claimed sovereignty over the islands since Britain took over the
                  archipelago in 1833. A 1982 attempt by Argentina to seize the islands led to a
                  75-day war won by the British.

                  The 2,200 residents of the islands are almost entirely pro-British.

                  The twelve presidents stated the need for both parties to resume negotiations and
                  called for a resumption of negotiations aiming at a peaceful and "lasting solution"
                  of the dispute.

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