Falkland Islands to hold referendum on sovereignty

 

Gavin Short announced the referendum, which visiting UK minister Jeremy Browne welcomed

The Falkland Islands will hold a referendum on its "political status" in a bid to end the dispute with Argentina over the archipelago's sovereignty.

The islands' government made the announcement ahead of the anniversary marking 30 years since the end of Argentina's 74-day occupation in 1982.

It said it wanted to send a firm message to Argentina that islanders want to remain British.

The UK prime minister said Britain would support the result of the vote.

The referendum will be organised by the Falkland Islands government and will take place in the first half of next year.

'Economic blockade'

The announcement comes amid growing tensions between the UK and Argentina surrounding the anniversary commemorations marking the islands' liberation by British forces on 14 June, 1982.

Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne is currently there on an official trip.

Argentina claims sovereignty over the islands it calls the Malvinas, and wants the UK to negotiate over their rule.

Recently, UK ministers have accused Argentina of trying to impose an "economic blockade" on the islands.

The South American country has been turning away cruise ships carrying the British flag and is taking legal action against five British oil firms exploring the coast of the islands.

Start Quote

We certainly have no desire to be ruled by the government in Buenos Aires”

End Quote Gavin Short Falklands legislative assembly

Gavin Short, chairman of the islands' legislative assembly, said they were holding the referendum "to show the world just how certain we are about it [our future]".

"I have no doubt that the people of the Falklands wish for the islands to remain a self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom.

"We certainly have no desire to be ruled by the government in Buenos Aires, a fact that is immediately obvious to anyone who has visited the islands and heard our views.

"But we are aware that not everybody is able to come to these beautiful islands and to see this reality for themselves.

"And the Argentine government deploys misleading rhetoric that wrongly implies that we have no strong views or even that we are being held hostage by the UK military. This is simply absurd."

'Resolute support'

Prime Minister David Cameron said it was "absolutely right" that the islanders set out how they intended to "make their voices heard once more".

"And Britain will be resolute in supporting their choice," he said.

"Next year's referendum will determine beyond doubt the views of the people of the Falklands. Britain will respect and defend their choice.

"We look to all UN members to live up to their responsibilities under the UN charter and accept the islanders' decision about how they want to live."

Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "I hope very much that Argentina, and indeed the whole of the international community, joins the UK in listening carefully to what they have to say."

The prime minister's official spokesman later confirmed the UK government had been aware of the plans and had been in discussions with the Falklands government before the announcement, but said "it was their decision and we fully support it".

Argentinian president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, is due to attend a meeting of the UN's decolonisation committee on Thursday.

The Falkland Islands, a rocky archipelago in the South Atlantic, are 7,780 miles from the UK and 1,140 miles from Buenos Aires.

With the exception of the 1982 occupation by Argentina - which sparked the Falklands War - they have been under British control since 1833.

 

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Falklands tensions

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 419.

    414.Akingsnorth

    I think you are going off in a slight tangent, the most important issue regarding Argentina's current provocative actions is their economic embargo against shipping and tourism (Cruise ships) which fly under the British flag. Argentina is lobbying other South American countries to follow suit. This is the key issue that needs resolving for the Islanders.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 418.

    The cry in the American Revolution was, "No taxation without representation!"

    Just out of curiousity, What taxes do the Falklanders pay to help keep our big defence presence there?

    I don't care, one way or the other. Just wondering.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 417.

    @411 it was not that straight forward at all. France also sent technical people to Argentina to help them! Plus, France is supportive of Britain on this as it has repercussions on its own oversees territories. French Guyana for a start.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 416.

    412.Deadlykipper

    I understood perfectly and if you think the British economy is stable in comparison then you have no concept whatsoever of economics. Our abilty to lend is only what keeps the British economy afloat and superior to Argentina and nothing else.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 415.

    We will never let the argies get their mits on the Falklands. Theres too much oil and gas down there not to mention the unexploited Antartic continent with its vast mineral wealth.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 414.

    405.Jesse Pinkman

    do you not read any of the comments about argentina's "millitary might", well to sum it up, they have NONE, it was on this very site that i saw that they admitted themselves that if they were to go to war against Bolivia they would last 24hours before running out of ammunition, might i add that Britian probably has a better chance then Bolivia,read up about the falkland defences

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 413.

    @395.Chad H
    373. suzkid - It would probably be something like the Faroe Islands... Shall I tell Denmark they're british, or do you want to do it?

    Good point. Never knew. Me and 60 million others. But now that you've raised our awareness...

    Faroe Islands - British through & through. Kick Denmark out. The campaign starts here :)

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 412.

    @403. koolkarmauk - you clearly didn't take on board the words I was using. I said "we seem perfectly stable by comparison". I'd like to turn your attention to "we seem" and "by comparison". I never said we were actually stable.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 411.

    405.Jesse Pinkman
    perhaps glowing in the dark and being highly irradiated is your idea of nothing but not mine. If you wish to reach 10,000 degrees in a few seconds thats your business. The French gave the exocet codes last time because Mrs T threatened to nuke Argentina if they didn't and their president believed she would. Whether Cameron is similarly inclined only time will tell.

  • Comment number 410.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 409.

    @Sam M (398)

    "But somehow,I think they are just too rude abd insular to care."
    __

    Funnily enough, the word "insular" relates to a geographical term that describes two out of the three places involved in this argument – the two of them that aren't Argentina.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 408.

    Hasn't Argentina got more pressing problems and more difficult neighbours to deal with?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 407.

    @388. Dave1506 - Sorry to disappoint you, Dave, but if a squatter is in a house for 10 years, they can technically own it by law: "Land Registration Act 2002 Allows squatters to apply to own the property if they have lived there for 10 years."

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 406.

    Somebody had better discover oil or gas soon as the way we're going we will have no navy or army to defend it.

    If there isn't any oil or gas then the Argies might as well have the Islands otherwise whats the point in spending milions to defend a few farms thousands of miles away.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 405.

    The history of the Falklands is a little more complicated than some would like to have it to match their opinions on Argentina, but that is quite irrelevant as no matter what the outcome of a referendum would be, Argentina will completely ignore it and there is little Britain will be able to do about it in military terms.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 404.

    So by Argentinian logic:
    -Alaska should be up for grabs to Canada or Russia.
    -Puerto Rico should 'go back' to Argentina, Cuba, or the Dom. Republic.
    -Guam should 'go back' to Japan or the Philippines.
    The UK is under the spotlight for having sheep farms in the S. Atlantic. Why do the Yanks get away with it? This argument may have better application elsewhere in the world.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 403.

    389.Deadlykipper

    Stable? With a deficit of 11% A debt of 1.2 trillion and the bonds we sell to the chinese to cover it up still have to be repaid.. with interest.. Typical British attitude "ve are superior to ze natives in Argentina"

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 402.

    Democracy, the enemy of anti empieralists, who strangly support the empieralists aims of Argintiania...

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 401.

    At the end of the day the decision lays with the people of the Falkland Islands, if they want to be British or Argentinian citizens.

    Hold the referendum, have UN, British and Argentinian observers so that all parties can be assured that the vote is fair and free, then everyone abides by the will of the people of the islands and have end to it once and for all.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 400.

    383.5ecret
    If the Malviniams want to hold a referendum, who are we to comment?
    ======

    You just have! Anyway what is a Malviniam? it appears to be not to exist, have you made it up? The nearest I could find is: "Malvin, a naturally occurring chemical of the Anthocyanin family"

 

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