Argentina’s foreign secretary, Hector Timerman, had objected to representatives of the Falkland Islands government being part of the talks, but a spokesperson for the UK Foreign Office has said it would be “unthinkable” not to include the islanders.

Representatives of the Port Stanley government were flying to London this weekend to tell Timerman that Buenos Aires should respect islanders’ rights and leave them in peace.

But Timerman, who had initially asked for a one-to-one meeting with the foreign secretary, sent a letter overnight saying he would not accept the offer of a meeting involving the islands’ government, which Argentina does not recognise as legitimate.