February 1, 2013 - 10:07 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Argentina's foreign minister has turned down British Foreign Office invitation to meet members of the Falkland Islands government in London next week, according to BBC News.
Hector Timerman rejected the offer, saying: "The international community does not recognize a third party in this dispute."
The island's legislative assembly had said they anticipated a "full and frank exchange of views" in such a meeting. The Foreign Office says it is considering its response.
A referendum on the islands' political status is to be held in March.
Timerman, insisted that the United Nations regarded the dispute over the Falklands as a bilateral issue between London and Buenos Aires.
Earlier this month, Argentina's president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner urged the prime minister to abide by a 1965 UN resolution to "negotiate a solution" to the dispute.
Argentina claims the islands - which it calls the Malvinas - were forcibly stripped from Argentina in "a blatant exercise of 19th Century colonialism". Last year, marked 30 years since the Falklands War - when the islands were occupied by Argentine forces for 74 days.
A statement issued by the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly after the Foreign Office issued the invitation, but before it was turned down by Timerman, said its representatives Dick Sawle and Jan Cheek, would not be "negotiating any deal".
"We look forward to giving Mr Timerman some very direct messages on the unacceptability of Argentina's actions against the Falkland Islands in recent years," it said. "We demand that our rights be respected, and that we be left in peace to choose our own future and to develop our country for our children and generations to come. It is only right that he should hear this directly from us, as well as from Mr Hague."
A Foreign Office spokesman said: "The FCO accepted a request, conveyed by the Argentine Embassy in December, for the foreign secretary to meet Argentine foreign minister, Mr Hector Timerman, during his visit to the UK on 4-6 February. In accepting such a request for a meeting at foreign minister level, we informed the Argentine Embassy that the foreign secretary wished to raise issues and concerns about the Falkland Islands with Mr Timerman personally and that he had invited political representatives of the Falkland Islands government to attend the meeting."