Military units in the southern Argentine city of Ushuaia are on a war footing following a deadlock in talks with Chile on the Beagle Islands dispute.
AV Coastline of southern Argentina
GV PAN Harbour at Ushuaia
LV Ships in harbour
TRAVELLING SHOT Torpedo boats and warships tied up
GV & LV Near-deserted streets in town of Ushuaia (2 shots)
CU Closed signs on shop windows (3 shots)
SV Soldiers walking in streets (3 shots)
LV Street in Ushuaia
SV & CU INTERIOR Souvenir tea towel on sale depicting islands in southern Argentina (2 shots)
CU PAN FROM Poster of Ushuaia TO lady shop-keeper commenting in Spanish on possibility of war with Chile
TRAVELLING SHOT Military aircraft of runway with helicopter passing overhead (2 shots)
LV & GV City of Ushuaia (snow-capped peaks in background) (2 shots)
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Background: Military units in the southern Argentine city of Ushuaia are on a war footing following a deadlock in talks with Chile on the Beagle Islands dispute. The latest talks, between the Argentine and Chilean Foreign Minsters, Brigadier Carlos Pastor and Senor Hernan Cubillos, were seen as a final effort to avoid armed conflict. The talks ended without agreement and tension in both countries remains high.
SYNOPSIS: The confrontation centres on sovereignty claims made by both countries to three small islands in the Beagle Channel at the southern tip of South America. The present crisis in the century-old dispute arose last year when Argentina rejected the finding of the International Court that the islands be give to Chile.
Both Argentina and Chile have move a number of warships into the area for what have been described officially as 'routine training exercises'.
Ushuaia lies on the island of Tierra del Fuego which is shared by Argentina and Chile. It over-looks the Beagle Channel and has the distinction of being the most southerly city in the world. At this time of year, the tourist season is usually at its peak, but shops are closed and normal life is at a standstill, because half of the population has left the city. Soldiers, not tourists, now walk the streets of Ushuaia.
Ownership of the disputed Beagle Islands means the rights to oil-rich territorial waters, and a large part of Antarctica, where other minerals have been found. This shopkeeper believes Argentina should go to war rather than give up the islands.
Argentina has called up thousands of military reservists to replace troops sent to the border zone. Both sides have agreed to Pope John Paul II, as an independent mediator in the problem. But Chilean President, Auguste Pinochet has ruled out the possibility of a meeting with the Argentine leader, President, Jorge Rafael Videla.