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 1250.

    @ 1185

    You dont know when to stop do you? Attacking their motivations? My god you are a drama queen! I asked a hypothetical question. I have neither the power nor the means (or desire) to deny anyone's right. I do however have the power to challenge hypocrisy and will do so wherever I see it.

    You have a dishonest/aggressive way of morphing other people's words against them. It's quite amusing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1249.

    #1207.Aduphanel ...... ' ..... rabid left-wing Scotsman (newspaper) ...' - Seriously? Have you ever read it? It is as mainstream, right of centre, establishment, Unionist / British orientated newspaper outside of England as you could hope to find ...

  • rate this

    Comment number 1248.

    Using de Kirchner's rather weak argument, who's to say Agentina doesn't 'belong' to the Falkland Islands? they existed before and are the same distance away?

    Maybe the Islanders could claim Chile as well!.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1247.

    PEGGYSUE@1189: "Thatcher only went to war...." What planet are you from then? What do you think Kirchener is doing to her people here? Just as Galtieri did in 1982.... At least the war brought to an end the Dictatorship during which THOUSANDS "Disappeared" Or during which Argentina deprived THOUSANDS of indigenous peoples of their lands.
    Oil? Of course its about oil, but it's not about theirs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1246.

    Always amusing to hear lefties automatically despising their own culture.
    Tacitus nailed it nearly two millenia ago - Omne ignotum pro magnifico.
    Let the Brit-haters go and live under a kleptocracy with murderous police
    and corrupt judges if they think it's good enough for the Falklanders.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1245.

    After reading much of this nationalist, militaristic, narrow minded pro Argentinian Empire populist rhetoric, we truly understand why........

    Its not like the Argentinian population isn't the transplanted results of colonial expansion...expansion that went on early into the 20th Century too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1244.

    It is perfectly clear to any outside and objective observer that the intelligent and rational argument is winning this debate - that is, the "pro Malvinas", pro Argentine argument. Sniffle in your false sentiment "Little Britain's" and resurrect Tele Tubbies for your war machine.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1243.

    @ 1194

    I don't know why you think Scotland isn't equally responsible for 'this mindset'

    Unless it's the usual trope: 'British when it suits us, poor downtrodden Scots dragged along by the evil English whenever the Empire is mentioned'

  • rate this

    Comment number 1242.

    Inhabitants of the Falkland Islands are 9th Generation from a European offshoots. The majority of Argentines are from a 3rd/4th Generation European Offshoot (pre and post WWII Italians/Germans and Spanish General Franco refugees). In effect, this is one set of Colonials stating the credentials over another set of recent arrivals. Ridiculous!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1241.

    Since people generally seem to approve of the killing, by populations, of any authority which would deny them their human rights (e.g the former Argentinians), I trust the same folk would approve of the killing of our Government by the people, if the former proceed with pulling is out of the European Convention On Human Rights, thereby doing just that to us?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1240.

    Reading most of comments here I get an idea that lots of Brits will agree if some communities in UK decide the part of land they are living on should be given to the countries they belong to. British people in Falkland island have no right to say Falkland island belongs to UK, the people might belong to UK, they can leave and come back to UK if they don't like it being in Argentinians territory.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1239.

    oh my how surprising that Cameron wants to respect the british peoples decision to stay british - nothing to do with the oil that is controlled by the british of course.....

    the british disgust me in how they think they can lay claim to a country miles away from its shores because they fought in war for said country - if thats the case then when we going back to claim China?

  • Comment number 1238.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 1237.

    I always thought that democracy was a form of government in which people govern themselves or elect representatives to govern them, but its obvious that some so called democratic countries only believe in it when its in their interests. Obviously Argentina is one that does not believe in it for the Falklands though many of the islanders can trace their families back before Argentina was founded.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1236.

    It's the same old story with the Argies, everytime their in economic difficulties they start making a fuss about the Falklands. Argentina has never owned the Falkland Islands, they have no more of a claim to them than any other South American country. The islanders have lived there for 9 generations, longer than most Europeans in Argentina. They need to just drop it now

  • rate this

    Comment number 1235.

    Sure we'll give back the Malvina's.....to the seagulls and seals (who were the original population), when you European settlers give back much of South America to the natives.

    Pot, kettle, black.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1234.

    Your talking absolute nonsence and know nothing,

    Falkland oil and Gas are partnered (farm in agreements) with both Nobel (US) and Edison (Italy). I believe Rockhopper have simular agreements and Borders and Southern were in talks ovr the condesate they found.
    Nobel (US) are taking over as main contractor in 2014 for FOGL. So a true multi national afaire...

  • rate this

    Comment number 1233.

    That's strange. There was a huge outcry in the media, the House of Commons and House of Lords when it was announced British residents living outside of Scotland would be denied the right to vote in the Scottish independence referendum. Why have we not see the same reaction during this referendum?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1232.


    You make plenty of accusations & insults, but when will you answer questions? (I have posted some for you)
    I await your reasoned & logical contribution. :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 1231.

    1208. Riggadon

    I was pointing out that everyone has the right to hold views and even promote them that others find objectionable and I was listing a few such views. What they cannot do is use or advocate illegal and non-constitutional means to advance those views. If those views themselves are incompatible with that constitution (eg as Sharia is) then they have a problem but that's too bad.


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