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 770.

    We have given away the UK!
    We need to hang on to something!

  • rate this

    Comment number 769.


    "They can fly the union jack as long as they pay their way in the world."

    Try doing some basic research before posting such rubbish next time. The Falklands are self sufficient, with exports in excess of imports. They are surrounded by huge oil reserves and provide a strategically important defence outpost for the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 768.

    @744"The British bleat about how foreigners behave in this country, and then go around the world acting like they own it, quite hilarious."

    No we don't act like we own it, we just staunchly protect our friends even in far away lands. You find that hilarious?

    @758 "The British settlers on the Island have voted to continue to be subsidised by British taxpayers"

    They aren't, they self finance.

  • Comment number 767.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 766.

    I agree with Mark_from_Manchester .
    If you want to see where all the traitors and fifth-columnists in this country get their news, try looking at the Guardian comments pages.

    They just reek of self-loathing, for being British, white, and middle-class.
    Still, look on the bright side, the Guardian's readership is slumping to such low levels that it will soon fold.
    Well done the Falkland Islanders.

  • rate this

    Comment number 765.

    This is a clear message from the islanders that they do not want the UK to negotiate away their home to a manic neighbouring nation. A not so friendly neighbour at that. The Falklanders can strive for total independence if they so wish and soon they can afford to do so. The UK will not stand in their way, and good for Argentina who claim to not want 'Britain on their doorstep'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 764.

    "If Cameron wants to make sure the Falklands remains British he needs to put forward a strong legal arguement ..."
    Britain has a strong legal argument. Why do you think Argentina whines about this in every international forum but has never made even the slightest attempt to put their case before the only one that really matters - the UN International Court of Justice?

  • rate this

    Comment number 763.

    Not sure what the point was regarding the referendum,everyone knew the outcome in advance. The Argentinians do not rercognise self determinattion by the Isleanders and never will.It is a political distraction for the Argentinian regime,they can't run their own country,don't pay their bills so they need to divert attention elsewhere.

  • rate this

    Comment number 762.

    747. empiredown
    Can't they be given a island far less isolated in the Orkney's and be transported there?

    Forced relocation... I'm sure I remember that happening somewhere in Europe fairly recently... didn't turn out so well then either.

    The people that live on those islands are human beings, a fact that seems lost on many fanatics on here...

  • rate this

    Comment number 761.

    Given his hatred of all things British and sucking up to the undemocratic chinese etc, I'm surprised this result hasn't been denounced by Eck Salmond. Maybe he would like to offer some scottish islands to frau Kirchner, some military bases etc?

  • rate this

    Comment number 760.

    Argentina claims that the Falklanders are 'implanted invaders' and therefore their views are irrelevant, as they have no right to be there. So what does that make that make the Argentinians? Incidentally, the 'invader' tag has also been applied to the protestant population of Northern Ireland, as well as the population of Gibraltar, in order to render their views similarly irrelevant.

  • rate this

    Comment number 759.

    Pretty irrelevant, with regard to territorial disputes like this one we all know that it boils down to whoever has the biggest stick getting what they want, if you don't have a realistic chance of holding on to something militarily you lose it no matter how just you feel your claim is, luckily for the Falklanders, Britain can protect them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 758.

    The British settlers on the Island have voted to continue to be subsidised by British taxpayers. Will the British get to vote on whether we wish to continue to subsidise them? The islanders' claim to be economically self-sufficient "except for defence" is pretty meaninless when the place is essentially one big military base. They're not self-sufficient which is why the UN doesn't recognise them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 757.

    Part 2:

    Having dropped Argentina's claim in 1850 Peron reinvented it in the 1940s as a myth to distract the population & justify an Argentine empire incorporating South Georgia & British Antarctica.

    Argentina have been invited 3 times to take the matter to the International Court of Justice & have always refused because they know they have no case.

  • rate this

    Comment number 756.

    ''715.Jailhouse Joe
    A vote by the incumbent population does not in any way legitimise a right to be there.''

    That statement would also apply to the Spanish and countless other European colonists in what is now called Argentina. Let's not forget the U.S.A. as well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 755.

    "The Brits colonise a third of the world and expect to keep those lands even in the 21st century...the empire is gone, get over it and good luck to Scotland voting for independence in 2014"

    Are you for real?? Scotland will vote the same way, And another thing the Argie's have no rights to the island. They stated this in 1850 Kirchner is just kicking up a stink to gloss over the domestic issues

  • rate this

    Comment number 754.

    I dont think there is any validated proof of there being oil in this area otherwise it would have been invaded by US oil companies long ago. Most companies have pulled out of the area. Argentina has a geological claim to the island as can be seen from satellite photos. The Islanders had better look to their income from trading and tourism + get an agreement with Arg.to it blocking their port.

  • rate this

    Comment number 753.

    @715. Jailhouse Joe
    Several things. First comparison with Hong Kong is flawed. Hong Kong was only ever leased from China, it was never 'ours'. Second at what point do you stop your argument? Where will the Americans and Australians go when they hand their land back to the original peoples? The Falklands are only near Argentina, so is Brazil, if the Falklands belong then so does Brazil, Chile :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 752.

    Not that I'm one for point scoring or anything, but, UK 2 - ARGENTINA 0

  • rate this

    Comment number 751.

    Just now

    The Brits colonise a third of the world and expect to keep those lands even in the 21st century...the empire is gone, get over it and good luck to Scotland voting for independence in 2014.


    FYI Scots are British and were involved in the Empire too plus lots of countries had empires besides us.

    PS 2014 will likely return a big vote for the UK. Sorry pal.


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