Argentina defends Falklands advert

London Spy

Argentina has said a controversial advert ahead of the London 2012 Games which described the Falkland Islands as "Argentine soil" was not designed to antagonise Britain.

Foreign Secretary William Hague has described the advert - which features Argentina hockey captain Fernando Zylberberg running through Port Stanley and has a tagline of "to compete on English soil, we train on Argentine soil" - as a stunt.

The advert has provoked such a strong reaction as it also features Zylberberg exercising on the town's Great War Memorial, which honours British sailors who died in World War I.

The ad agency that are responsible for the advert, Young & Rubicam, have asked the Argentinian government to pull it at a time when diplomatic relations between Argentina and Britain are strained due to the ongoing dispute over the sovereignty of the islands, which in Argentina are known as the Malvinas.

However, Argentina's ambassador to Britain has defended the advert.

When asked by El Tribuno whether the advert was meant to provoke England, Castro said: "I hope not, I really hope not, because this is not meant to be a provocation."

She later added in an interview with Sky News: "Malvinas are Argentinian. I mean, the islands belong to Argentina, they are in our continental shelf so there's nothing wrong with an athlete training there.

"I don't really want to go into a small discussion, I would like to go into a broader discussion and the discussion is why can't we sit and talk?

"The international community is calling for a settlement of this conflict in a peaceful and permanent solution."

Zylberberg has said that the advert does have an overtly political intent.

"The idea was to get the message through that the Malvinas are Argentine," Zylberberg told Cadena 3 radio station.

"I spent a whole week running on the island. It was an incredible experience because we were surrounded by (Argentine) war veterans."

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