Pope Francis has found himself caught up in the dispute over the Falkland Islands after he was photographed in the Vatican holding a sign calling for Argentinian-British talks on the issue. The pontiff, who is from Argentina, was reportedly tricked into taking the sign from Gustavo Hoyo, leader of the campaign for dialogue on the islands, during a papal audience. The sign read: “It’s time for dialogue between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands.” The Argentinian president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, promptly tweeted the picture to her 4 million followers with the hashtag #MalvinasArgentinas - the islands’ Spanish name. She has previously called for the pope to intervene in the dispute and promote a dialogue with the UK. Argentina’s foreign ministry also tweeted that the pope “had received a pro-dialogue message” for Argentina and the UK. But the Vatican said the pope was unaware of the contents of the sign. Father Ciro Benedettini, a spokesman for the Vatican, said: “The Holy Father did not even realise he had this object in his hands. He has discovered this just now after seeing the photograph. “The picture was taken during the general audience when many people give items to the Holy Father.” However, Hoyo told Argentina’s Clarin newspaper that “when [the Pope] passed by, I explained what this was about and he kindly took the placard and got the picture taken. He could have chosen not to do it, but he did.” While the pope has not discussed the Falklands dispute since his appointment in March 2013, he was known to speak in emotional and sometimes nationalistic terms about the islands when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires. In 2011, the pope - then known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio - told his followers “not to forget those who had fallen during the war” as they had “shed their blood on Argentine soil”. The following year, he referred to the islands as the “homeland” at a memorial mass in Buenos Aires to mark the 30th anniversary of the conflict. “Pray for those who have fallen, the sons of our homeland who went out to defend their mother country, to reclaim what is theirs of the homeland, that which was usurped from them,” he said. Tensions between Britain and Argentina have remained high since British forces defeated Argentinian troops who invaded the Falklands in 1982.