Rome

Kirchner asks pope to intercede in Falklands dispute with UK

Argentine president appeals to former Buenos Aires archbishop

Kirchner asks pope to intercede in Falklands dispute with UK

Rome, March 18 - Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on Monday asked Pope Francis to facilitate a dialogue between Argentina and the United Kingdom on the issue of sovereignty over the Falkland Islands. Kirchner, who met with Francis earlier Monday in Rome, asked the newly elected Argentine pope to "intercede between Argentina and Great Britain to facilitate dialogue," Kirchner said during a press conference after her meeting with Francis. On March 10-11, Falkland Island residents - who have been under British administration since 1833 - held a referendum in which they overwhelmingly voted to remain under UK rule. Kirchner contested the referendum's result. Following his election to head the world's Roman Catholics, reports have emerged of past statements by Francis which indicate that he has been in favor or returning the islands' control to Argentina. Argentina - which calls the islands the Islas Malvinas - invaded the Falklands in 1982, seeking to reclaim control over them. After a two-month war with forces from the United Kingdom, Argentine forces surrendered and the islands were returned to British administration.

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