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 790.


    Well done the Falklands,but please remember if it was Labour or the Liberals were in power in 1982,you would be part of Argentina by now."

    It was Thatcher's decision to withdraw our military presence (HMS Endeavour) from the area and decision to scrap one carrier and sell the other to Australia that prompted the Argentine invasion. Populist History courtesy of The Sun, eh?

  • rate this

    Comment number 789.

    Suicide of Falklands veterans, Mail on Sunday

    A shocking little-known toll of the Falklands War is revealed today, 20 years on.

    More veterans have taken their own lives since the South Atlantic conflict ended than the number of Servicemen killed in action.

    Perhaps we should spend some of the money helping these lads?

  • rate this

    Comment number 788.

    We were negotiating with Argentina on a leaseback deal, weren't you, Mrs. T, and we could have given every Islander a million 1982 pounds and made a profit rather than fight the war. It took the war to treat the Islanders better than the Falklands island company had been treating them. Give these islands an MP

  • rate this

    Comment number 787.

    Well done Falkland Islanders - can some of you pop over and try to drum up some voter enthusiam here in the UK??

  • rate this

    Comment number 786.

    The UK should be willing to respond to any threats to the island's security with any and all means at their disposal (i think we all know what that means), while also invoking their alliance within NATO.

  • rate this

    Comment number 785.

    I spent a year there from 1981 to 1982, plus the war of course, as a Royal Marine.
    Back then, even the several Argentinians living & working there, wanted nothing to do with Argentina. - Of course, back then, Argentina was suffering a terrible military dictatorship. - Something that the defeat by the British helped remove. (Never any thanks for that.)
    A welcome but obvious result from the people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 784.

    What interest does Britain have on the Falkland islands, absolutely none whatsoever.
    What interest does Argentina have, they are not in occupation so can't even claim to have residents there so it’s even less than the claim the UK has that you deride.

  • rate this

    Comment number 783.

    People are missing the point of the referendum. It is not a message to Argentina, its a message to the countries that Argentina continue to crawl to for support. In that respect I believe it will do the Islanders a lot of good. It undermines Argentina's claim when they go begging to other south american countries for backup.

  • rate this

    Comment number 782.

    A question for the Pro-Argentinians and the ones who are using the immigrant concept.
    Do you want Argentina to hand back Tierra Del Fuego back to the native Indiazns? I presume you do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 781.

    766. Tomjo59

    So you and "Mark_from_Manchester" don't agree with freedom of speech? You might find Argentina a more congenial place for yourselves then.

  • rate this

    Comment number 780.

    Argentina here is a compromise. As we British seem determined to retain an island that is closer to you than us, Argentina, you can have the Isle of Wight as a reasonable swap.

  • rate this

    Comment number 779.

    Imagine the BBC's spin had west bank residents voted to stay in Israel.

    I'm completely in support of the Falklands remaining British. I'm just nauseated with the BBC's hypocrisy and the comments here by union jack flag wavers, who then flip flop and wag their finger at other countries that claim territory.

  • rate this

    Comment number 778.

    @767 why you so mad ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 777.

    Just for the benefit of those asking "How much the FI" cost us?

    The answer is apart from the cost of the miltary base, nothing, the FI's are completely self financing due to the sale of fishing licenses!

  • rate this

    Comment number 776.

    The Argentinian's are like a small child who keeps asking for a new toy. Just tell them "no" and keep repeating this till they get the message.

    Perhaps in time they might fixate on some other irrational cause to try and repair their tarnished national identity instead. Then we and the Falklanders can all get some peace.

  • rate this

    Comment number 775.

    I fully support protecting the Falklands & all other UK sovereign territory

    I find it shocking that so many credit thatcher for the winning back of the Falkland islands who also do not credit her with if not directly causing at least significantly contributing its chances of occurrence by reducing defence of the islands, ignoring intelligence, costing lives & the country BILLIONS since

  • rate this

    Comment number 774.

    @743.ukfurrie, actually that started to happen in the 90's and there was a thawing of the tensions, such that Argentina were invited to share in the oil reserves, but then it fell apart in the 2000's when the their economy fell apart, De Kirtchner's husband tore up the agreement signed by his predecessor and started the wooden sabre rattling again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 773.

    There are no valid arguments for Argentinian rule over the Falklands. The "look at a map" straw man defense in contradicted by numerous other territories across the world, Argentina itself was colonised by a country closer to the UK than to itself AFTER the Falklands had already been inhabited, and the people have now stated officially on many occasions that they wish to remain British. End of.

  • rate this

    Comment number 772.

    Like so many places in the world the brits claim because of discovery but in most cases it was`nt lost as there were people there before the brits, this vote is like having the fox look after the chickens.

  • rate this

    Comment number 771.

    As someone who was sent there in '82 can I thank the Islanders for this vote, its gratifying to know our efforts and losses were not in vain.


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