HT This Day: April 2 1982 — Argentina seizes Falklands | Latest News India


Argentina invaded and seized the British- ruled Falkland islands today in a brief battle with British soldiers that left one Argentine soldier killed and two others injured.

Navy sources said the operation was a complete “success” and that British Governor Rex Hunt had surrendered. Navy press Chief Hugo De Pierro confirmed that one Argentine naval officer died and two soldiers were injured during the fight.

There was no word of British casualties.

Argentina’s military Government later announced that the country’s armed forces had “recovered” the British-administered Malvinas (Falklands), South Georgia and South Sandwich islands “through a successful military operation”, adds AP, Reuter.

“The exercise of Argentine sovereignty over all the island territory and air and sea space has been assured,” the Government said in a communique.

The Government called on the country’s citizens to “understand the deep and unmistakable national sentiment” in the decision to “convert into reality a legitimate right of the Argentine people which has been postponed, patiently and prudently, nearly 150 years.”

Argentina has claimed the islands, scattered in the south Atlantic south-west of Argentina, since 1833 when, Argentines claim, they were ousted by the British.

Buenos Aires newspapers re- ported earlier today that Argentinian commandos had seized the airport at Port Stanley and troops were being landed by ship and plane to occupy the disputed islands.

Presidential Press Secretary Rodolfo Baltierrez met briefly reporters after a Cabinet meeting and said President Leopoldo Galtieri had received “ample and detailed” reports on the Falklands issue, including a report “on efforts made by our country at the diplomatic level.” P

President Galtieri also received a phone call from US President Ronald Reagan early in the morning and the two leaders spoke for 25 minutes, the Press Secretary said.

Britain earlier informed the Security Council today that a massive invasion of the Falkland Islands was taking place.

Addressing the Council at its second meeting on the crisis in less than 24 hours, Sir Anthony Parsons, the chief British delegate, said members faced an emergency and they must act at once.

According to an earlier report from London, the British Government said there had not yet been an Argentine invasion of the Falkland islands, but that an attack was expected very soon.

Deputy Foreign Secretary Humphrey Atkins said in an emergency statement to Parliament that the situation had become increasingly grave in the last 24 hours.

Mr Atkins, contradicting reports from Buenos Aires that Argentine forces had already landed in the disputed Falklands in the south Atlantic, said. “The position at the moment is that no invasion has taken place.”

He made the statement after an emergency Cabinet meeting called by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. With Mrs Thatcher seated alongside him in the House, Mr Atkins said Britain would defend the Falkland islands “to the best of our ability.”

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) council held a special session today at a Britain’s request to hear a report on the Falkland islands crisis, a NATO statement said in Brussels.

The council, consisting of the ambassadors of the 15 NATO States, expressed “deep concern at the dispute between a member of the alliance and a State with which all have friendly relations.”