Britain has expressed renewed concern over Argentina's behaviour towards the Falklands after its foreign minister refused to attend talks with representatives of the islanders.
Foreign Secretary William Hague invited Hector Timerman to a meeting when he visits London next week to discuss issues relating to the islands, which Argentina still claims.
The offer was rebuffed by Mr Timerman on the grounds that members of the Falklands Islands government, which Buenos Aires refuses to recognise, would be present. A Foreign Office spokesman said: "It is clear from Mr Timerman's plans in the UK that the Falkland Islands are already on his agenda. We remain concerned about the Argentine government's behaviour towards the Falkland islanders, so it is right and proper that they are involved in the part of the meeting that concerns the islands."
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In a statement last night, Mr Timerman said he was sorry Mr Hague was unable to meet "without the supervision of the colonists from the Malvinas" – the Argentine name for the islands.