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Son of British vet of Falkland Islands war becomes a citizen of Argentina

June 21, 2011 | 10:58 am

Cristina de kirchner james peck

The son of a British veteran of the 1982 Falkland Islands war has become a citizen of Argentina, stoking tensions in the two nations' still-smoldering political dispute over the islands in the South Atlantic.

Argentina's president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, personally handed newly minted citizen James Peck his Argentine identification card in a public ceremony on June 14, the 29th anniversary of the end of the Falkland war.

Peck, born on the islands, is the first Falklander to receive Argentine citizenship, reports BBC News. He said his decision to become a naturalized argentino was not politically motivated but rather a move meant to make it easier for him to see his Argentine-born children, which he discovered was difficult for him because of his British passport, reports said.

The 42-year-old artist lives in Buenos Aires and had recently separated from the mother of his children.

Peck's father fought for the British in the 10-week war that left hundreds dead on both sides after Argentina invaded the territory on April 2, 1982, under order of the then-ruling military dictatorship. Argentina still claims sovereignty over the islands, which are known as the Malvinas in Spanish.

Peck's story has played somewhat sourly in the British media, particularly since Kirchner bluntly criticized British Prime Minister David Cameron late last week.

Kirchner said Britian is "a crude colonial power in decline" and that Cameron's recent comments that the Falkland Islands should remain a British territory are an expression "of mediocrity, and almost of stupidity."

In an interview published Monday, Peck said he was unprepared for insults and the charges of treason he's received from some islanders. "I've had messages saying that if I go back I'll be shot," he said.

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Photo: Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner with new citizen James Peck in Buenos Aires. Credit: European Pressphoto Agency

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