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Argentine ambassador risks row by giving Pope Francis a book about Falklands

Pope Francis passes an Argentine fan in St Peter's Square (Photo: CNS)

The Argentine ambassador to Britain has presented Pope Francis with a book entitled Malvinas Matters during a trip to Rome.

Alicia Castro and her daughter were received for an hour-long private audience at the Vatican. Their gifts to the Pope also included an 18th-century map of America and a wicker cross made by indigenous Guaraní craftspeople.

In return they received a copy of the Pope’s apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.

But their gift of a collection of commentaries about the Falkland Islands – called the Malvinas by Argentines – risks a diplomatic row.

The ambassador, regarded as an ally of president Cristina Kirchner, had already helped launched the book at an event in London attended by Daniel Filmus, the Argentine secretary of state for matters relating to the Falkland Islands.

Before being elected Pope, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio had described the British re-conquest of the Falklands as “usurpation”.

When asked about the Pope’s views at the time of Francis’s election, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he did not “agree with him, respectfully, obviously”.

Diplomatic sources have suggested that Francis will stay neutral on the issue as Pope.