Falklands: Cameron says Argentina should respect vote


Falkland Islanders celebrate ballot result

David Cameron has called on Argentina to respect the wishes of the people of the Falkland Islands to remain British.

The prime minister said the almost unanimous vote in favour of staying a British overseas territory was the "clearest possible result".

He said Argentina should take "careful note" of the referendum, and Britain would always defend the islands.

It follows pressure from Argentina over its claims to the islands, 31 years after the Falklands War with the UK.

Most Argentines regard the islands, which they call Las Malvinas, as Argentine and their recovery is enshrined in the national constitution.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has made clear that her country does not recognise the referendum, insisting it has no legal validity.

However, Mr Cameron said the islanders were entitled to the right of self-determination.

'Judge and jury'

Mr Cameron said: "The Falklands Islands may be thousands of miles away but they are British through and through, and that is how they want to stay, and people should know we will always be there to defend them.

"I think the most important thing about this result is that we believe in self-determination, and the Falkland Islanders have spoken so clearly about their future, and now other countries right across the world, I hope, will respect and revere this very, very clear result."

David Cameron: 'The Falkland islanders couldn't have spoken more clearly - they want to remain British'

He added: "They want to remain British and that view should be respected by everybody, including by Argentina."

Labour's shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said the islanders had resisted "overt and unhelpful pressure" from the Argentine government in the run-up to the referendum.

"This referendum was a democratic process, overseen by international observers, and has now made clear, once and for all, the view of the islanders," he said.

Writing in Clarin, a popular daily newspaper in Argentina, former cabinet chief Rodolfo Terragno said the people of the Falkland Islands had "proved Argentina right".

"Great Britain can no longer say the inhabitants of the Falklands are a third party in the Anglo-Argentine conflict. The islanders have confessed they are British," he wrote.

"They cannot decide which of the two countries is right. They would be judge and jury."

Media reaction in Argentina

Article in La Nacion, a conservative daily newspaper, by Martin Dinatale:

"Did yesterday's referendum pave the way for the Islanders to begin their path to independence? Not at all. Neither the result nor the strongly British atmosphere seen over the last few days showed that the referendum could leave space for the eventual independence of the islanders. Neither did the referendum seem to start a path towards dialogue between the islanders and Buenos Aires. Quite the contrary. The displays of exacerbated nationalism and the memories of the war made any intention of good relations between the islanders and Argentina more distant."

Report in Pagina 12, a left-wing daily newspaper:

"With practically absolute backing for the islands' current political status, 98.8% of the inhabitants of the Falklands voted in favour of continuing to remain as part of the UK's overseas territory. The plebiscite brought by the UK in the islands ended thus, without anything unexpected emerging."

Source: BBC Monitoring

Nigel Haywood, governor of the Falkland Islands, said the referendum was a "massive demonstration of the way the Falkland Islanders feel and of the way they see their future".

"Obviously it is a major principle of the United Nations that a people have their right to self-determination, and you don't get a much clearer expression of the people's self-determination than such a large turnout and such a large Yes vote," he said.

Dick Sawle, a member of the Falklands Legislative Assembly, said the vote should send out "the strongest possible message to the rest of the world about our right to self-determination".

"The British government is 100% behind us and it will be our job now as a government to get that message out to the rest of the world and every country that will listen to us," he said.

Islander Lynda Buckland said the result was "absolutely brilliant".

"It sends a message out to the rest of the world that we are British and we want to remain that way. My family has been here since 1842 and that is longer than most Argentines have been in Argentina," she said.

Of 1,517 votes cast in the two-day referendum, just three votes were against. There was a turnout of more than 90% from 1,672 British citizens eligible to vote in a population of about 2,900.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 550.

    Well, the simple fact is, the country's decision belonds to the Falkland Islanders, and they chose almost unanimously to support Great Britain.

    No selfish Argentines can deny the vote of the people, the Islanders aren't "squatters", they are the long-standing population and deserve their own say in these matters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 549.

    Makes me wonder, like already said, whether Britain would support an Israeli claim on the same grounds if they wipe out the Palestinians on Cisjordania, replace them with settlements and then hold a referendum where "surprisingly" 99% of population then choose to be called Israelis. We are right in claim sovereignty of the Falklands but this vote hardly helps since it leaves a dangerous precedent.

  • rate this

    Comment number 548.

    The differences between Tibet and Falklands are:

    a) China didn't kill every Tibetan, so they still have a voice of dissent
    b) Tibet is closer to Beijing

    No hypocrisy still?

  • rate this

    Comment number 547.

    I propose a vote to liberate the Welsh Patagonians too! Maybe they'd like a vote about who rules them?

  • rate this

    Comment number 546.

    Perhaps the people of Argentina should remember their Spanish masters wiped out the Mapuche, Kolla, Toba, Guaraní, Wichí, Diaguita, Mocoví, and Huarpe peoples - who rightfully lived in Argentina.

  • rate this

    Comment number 545.

    The British government's view on the Falkland islands stinks. They don't care about them at all. Where was all the noble rhetoric when it came to Diego Garcia? This is all about imperialism ie oil and mineral rights.

  • rate this

    Comment number 544.

    The Falklanders have had their say. However Cameron is a hypocrite if he states the vote should be respected. He never respected the voters in this country when he lied about "no top down NHS reorganisation", reducing inheritance tax, no online snooping etc. etc. etc.
    He doesn't have good record for telling the truth so far does he....

  • rate this

    Comment number 543.

    Congratulations to the Islanders for caring passionately enough about
    their governance to turn out to vote in such numbers, and to return the correct result. My dad fought for your rights 30 years ago, and I'm grateful he didn't so in vain.
    If only the rest of the British population felt as strongly about their democratic rights, we might get a true representation of our nation in the HoC.

  • rate this

    Comment number 542.

    409.L_CM, So what happened to the original inhabitants in these Islands? The British killed all of them I suppose?

    Highly unlikely. But we all know what the Spanish colonies did to the natives in S America. Argentina displays the same attitude today. Take the land BY FORCE, rid it of its inhabitants, exploit its natural resources. TheUK gives them a vote! No wonder they want to remain British.

  • rate this

    Comment number 541.

    401. David

    "And with any luck we will return an outright Tory victory in 2015 and get OUR vote on Europe"

    Schoolboy error David. Tories SAY alot of things before elections

    Expect a few more populistic statements as they hope to quell rebeliion

    Odd though that they criticised Scotland wanting a referendum in years time because the bad effects uncertainty would have on the economy ..

  • Comment number 540.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 539.

    @525. David Pickles
    'Deny the UK a referendum on self-rule, ie in our out of the EU

    Give the Falkland Islands a referendum on self-rule, and then take the credit and hail it for all it's worth'

    Cameron had nothing to do with the referendum. He doesn't govern them, they govern themselves. Learn about the subject a little before commenting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 538.

    This idea that because you used to own something you must still own it is ridiculous. By that reckoning we own all the USA east of the Mississippi! When Serbia claims Kosovo because 600 years ago it did, they are condemned because the people there now are Albanians. Yet Serbia has a stronger claim than Argentina has over the Falklands. Time to own up to economic mismanagement.

  • rate this

    Comment number 537.

    "91. Hoss Berger

    Have a look at the map. See that large land mass just to the west of las Islas Malvinas? That's Argentina. ..."

    See that large land mass just to the south of the UK? That's France. Maybe France should have a claim over the UK by your reasoning? The population's only been there for a few thousand years!

  • rate this

    Comment number 536.

    As referendum results go that is a pretty comprehensive vote against the Islands coming under Argentinian control. Regardless of what has happened in the past everyone should respect the wishes of the people there.

  • rate this

    Comment number 535.

    As somebody who fought there in 82 I am of course delighted with the result. It's clear that Argentina are 'sabre rattling' now they know for certain there is oil to be had, in 82 the Junta needed to detract from a nightmare internally. If there were simply penguins and rocks then they wouldn't care less. The people have spoken and that should hold sway with any international body. Hands off!

  • rate this

    Comment number 534.

    I wonder if the government would have allowed this referendum had the result ever been in doubt.

    The UK government had no say in this referendum. It was put forward by the Falklands Government. They are a self governing overseas territory, not part of the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 533.

    So the “not Benny’s” views have to be respected.

    In-breading 1 : Common-sense 0

  • rate this

    Comment number 532.

    "These islands are best part of the country they are next to."

    So - for example - NZ should be part of Australia?

  • rate this

    Comment number 531.

    9. grumpysleepless: "...please remember if it was Labour or the Liberals were in power in 1982,you would be part of Argentina by now."


    Why is this an editors pick?

    The Labour party supported sending the task force and the previous labour government had sent the navy there to protect the Falklands.

    Editors picks should show the various arguments, but not reproduce inaccurate rubbish.


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