Brazil has refused to allow Royal Navy ship HMS Clyde dock in Rio de Janeiro, it has emerged. The Foreign Office has confirmed that HMS Clyde was diverted to Chile after being denied diplomatic clearance to dock in Rio. Commentators suggest that the move is a sign that Brazil’s new president Dilma Rousseff, who came into office on 1 January, is trying to win favour with Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
Argentine newspaper Clarin reported that the Argentine president was ‘satisfied’ with the decision to block HMS Clyde. The decision not to allow HMS Clyde to dock comes despite the fact that in September 2010 Minister for International Security Strategy Gerald Howarth signed a defence cooperation treaty with Brazilian navy chief Admiral Moura Neto.
Howarth described the UK and Brazil as “old and trusted friends” during the signing, and said the treaty would mark a “new dawn” in defence relations between the two countries. A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We can confirm that HMS Clyde had planned to make a routine port stop in Rio de Janeiro in early January.
“Brazil did not grant diplomatic clearance this time. We respect Brazil’s right to make such a decision. We have a close relationship with Brazil. “The UK-Brazil defence cooperation treaty signed last September is a good example of our current strong links.” In September 2010, Type 42 destroyer HMS Gloucester was refused permission to dock in Uruguay, in an apparent show of solidarity between Uruguay and Argentina over oil drilling in the waters off the Falkland Islands.