May 25, 2013
Peru's denial to HMS Montrose docking still causing waves
Following the announcement on Monday that Peru would withdraw the permit for the UK’s HMS Montrose frigate to dock at El Callao port out of “solidarity" to Argentina’s claim of sovereignty over the Malvinas islands, international repercussions continue.
The UK stated "disappintment over Peru’s decision' in communiqué, and questioned why Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Jeremy Brown was not informed of the measure during his visit to Lima last Friday.
On Thursday the London Times quoted Herald’ editor in chief Carolina Barros’s article on the matter.
"You might think that, in the famous feminist phrase, Peru and Great Britain need each other like fish need bicycles. So you might conclude that yesterday’s decision by the Peruvian Government to withdraw its invitation for a British frigate — the HMS Montrose — to dock for a few days at the port of Callao is a matter of little account.
According to the Peruvians this act of disinvitation was committed in South American solidarity with the Argentinian claim to the Malvinas (as no one who lives there calls the Falkland Islands). But that claim is ancient, whereas it was only on February 27 that the Peruvian Congress had authorised the visit. Indeed the Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne was in Lima only last week and nothing was said. So what had changed?
Was it that someone in the Peruvian Foreign Office had noticed a recent article by the actor Sean Penn (who has clearly been acting in too many Hollywood movies) complaining of the intimidatory nature of Britain’s recent gesture of sending Prince William to the islands? Or, as seems more likely, was it the embarrassment of a critical article in Monday’s Buenos Aires Herald in which Carolina Barros, in effect, accused the Peruvians of selling the pass?
Peru is entitled to its gestures, though if it knows of a better principle than self-determination we would be interested to hear it. But it is surely the case that, other things being equal, good co-operative relationships between countries are better than surly ones. Especially since it turns out that Britain, far from being simply a far-off nation, is in fact the second biggest investor (after Spain) in Peru’s economy. Someone really should show that salmon where the pedals are."