Pope Francis photographed with sign calling for dialogue over future of Falklands

Pope Francis holds a sign about the Falkland Islands during his weekly general audience on Aug 19, 2015, at the Vatican.
Pope Francis holds a sign about the Falkland Islands during his weekly general audience on Aug 19, 2015, at the Vatican.PHOTO: AFP

BUENOS AIRES (AFP) - Pope Francis was drawn into the long-running debate over the Falkland Islands on Wednesday, when he was photographed holding a sign calling for dialogue on the islands' future.

The photo, taken at his weekly general audience in the Vatican, gained widespread attention in the South American press and was later tweeted, without additional comment, by Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner.

It was not clear whether the pontiff deliberately picked up the sign, or whether it was thrust into his hands.

The sign read in Spanish: "It's time for dialogue between Argentina and the United Kingdom on the Falklands."

Argentina and Britain fought a war over the disputed South Atlantic archipelago in 1982, ending with Argentina's surrender after the death of 649 Argentines and 255 British troops.

London has ignored a United Nations resolution urging dialogue over islands.

In 2013, Ms Kirchner asked Pope Francis, who is Argentinian, to intervene to promote a dialogue between the countries.