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 750.

    Argentina, listen to the people. You might find you have better luck negotiating with Alex Salmond. There's oil there too!

  • rate this

    Comment number 749.

    ref #735
    Exactly, the same could apply to Benjamin Netanyahu & the Palestinians
    And when the Palestinians attack Israel , Israel has every right to respond and kick their butts. Just like the British kicked Argentina's butts when they attacked Britain in the Falklands war

  • rate this

    Comment number 748.

    Dear Mr Cameron,

    If you are so passionate about democracy why won't you give the British people a referendum on Europe?

  • rate this

    Comment number 747.

    Can't they be given a island far less isolated in the Orkney's and be transported there? Surely it is gonna be the same wind blowing but less issues with neighbors?

  • rate this

    Comment number 746.

    Whoever holds the Falklands Islands has the nearest all year round ice-free port to Antarctica. Plus owns the seabed were there is oil and fishing grounds.
    So there is an economic advantage to whoever owns 'this scraggy rock'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 745.

    congratulation to Falkands . Argentina should respect them .and leave them alone .

  • rate this

    Comment number 744.

    The British bleat about how foreigners behave in this country, and then go around the world acting like they own it, quite hilarious.
    Cheer on the British ruling class all you like but look at what they've allowed this country to become!

  • rate this

    Comment number 743.

    I think Argentina are playing it all wrong as they do not understand the British mentality. They should be trading with the Falklands, taking their sheep, co-operating with the oil exploration and the cruise ships that dock on the island and in time the islanders may come to trust them. Continually making the islanders life more difficult will only get their backs up, they are tough people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 742.

    Well, what should Britain and Argentina do following this referendum?

    Let's take another international case, which is similar but goes even more to the extreme: Kosovo. A 100% Serbian territory - no dispute there - that was populated mostly by Albanians (but Serbs, too). What happened there? It became autonomous, de facto Albanian.

    So No, Argentina, it's not about the territory. At all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 741.

    So we are asking british people whether they want to remain british? mmm...and that sounds important and useful because.... (?)
    As far as I know, by law you don't have one of the interested parties being also the judge...unless of course, one of the interested parties is a rich colonizer country and the other one a third world country...

  • rate this

    Comment number 740.

    715. Jailhouse Joe . Most of Honkong was leased to the UK for I think 99 years. The lease had run out. A small part of Hongkong was infact by treaty owned by the UK in perpertuity.Just not pratical to keep hold of it and any way I think the inhabitants werent of UK origin?

  • rate this

    Comment number 739.

    Where will Ms Fernandez de Kirchner be going now to ppppick up a penguin.

  • rate this

    Comment number 738.

    iagoapsteffan - have you just woken up from a 60 odd year snooze? Britain returned virtually all of the lands claimed by the empire and developed self-rule for those nations There were few exceptions. Hong Kong was one based on the lease and the situation with China, the Falklands were another because there is nobody to give them back to, no indigenous population.

  • rate this

    Comment number 737.

    @Adam (705)

    Have you any idea what a complete and utter clown you look making a comment like that?

    Enjoy your feeling of superiority over the majority. Clearly delustional, but enjoy it anyway!

  • rate this

    Comment number 736.

    "Respect Falklands Vote" says Cameron, but "don't respect" Lord Leveson or the victims of Press Abuses since Cameron and Letwin are allowing the Press to dictate exactly which parts of Leveson they will and will not sign up to. Dodgy deals behind closed doors to protect their pals in the Press. So much for Cameron's "Dowler Test".

  • rate this

    Comment number 735.

    Although Kirchner is not a true Bolvarian she enshrines soem of their tatics including nationlization and demonizing Anglos. she and the other leftists are always lecturing Anglos about respecting the eoples right to vote their own goverment.
    Exactly, the same could apply to Benjamin Netanyahu & the Palestinians.

  • rate this

    Comment number 734.

    I envy the Falkland Islanders. They're British and not afraid to say so out loud. They don't have the crime, the useless politicians, the illegal immigrants, the overcrowding, the housing problems, and they care about each other. Of course they're still proud to be Brirish, they have everything that we used to have when we had an identity and were proud to be British.

  • rate this

    Comment number 733.

    710. Phil

    I think you are missing the very obvious humour and irony, to an embarrassing extent!

  • rate this

    Comment number 732.

    Amazing how the Guardian reading liberals hate the concept of democracy and self-determination.

    They decry Britain's Empire and colonial history but support Argentina's attempts to do exactly the same.

    What a completely irrational lot they all are - quite laughable really.

    So, why should the Falklands be British? Well because 98% of them want to be. Simples. Everything else is irrelevant.

  • rate this

    Comment number 731.

    92 "Given that the island is relatively adjacent to the mainland I can fully understand their claim"

    Great on that basis China can claim Japan, Australia can claim New Zealand and any number of European countries can claim the UK. Must be nice in your world!


Page 28 of 65


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