PM accuses Argentina of 'colonialism' towards Falklands

David Cameron told Andrew Rosindell MP: ''The future of the Falkland Islands is a matter for the people''

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David Cameron has accused Argentina of "colonialism" for continuing to claim sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has demanded renewed talks about the future of the islands - which Argentina calls Las Malvinas.

But Mr Cameron told MPs they would stay British for as long as the islanders wanted, and Argentina's demands for that to change were "like colonialism".

The issue was discussed at a National Security Council meeting on Tuesday.

This year is the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War, which was prompted by an Argentinian invasion of the islands.

Most Falkland Islanders wish to retain British sovereignty and 14 June is marked as Liberation Day in the capital, Port Stanley.

'Defences in order'

During prime minister's questions on Wednesday, Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell branded Argentina's actions "wholly deplorable" and urged Mr Cameron to "remind Argentina they lost the Falklands War".

In reply, the prime minister said the "absolutely vital point" was that "the future of the Falkland Islands is a matter for the people themselves".

Start Quote

Argentina would like to annex us to Argentina and I think that is totally unacceptable in the modern world”

End Quote Dick Sawle Falklands MP

"As long as they want to remain part of the United Kingdom and be British, they should be able to do so," he said.

And he added: "What the Argentinians have been saying recently, I would argue, is actually far more like colonialism because these people want to remain British and the Argentinians want them to do something else."

Mr Cameron told the Commons he wanted to "make sure our defences and everything else are in order", which is why the National Security Council meeting had been held.

His spokesman said later the meeting had been held in part because it was the run-up to 30th anniversary, but she added: "There is quite a lot of rhetoric going on.

"The PM is clearly keen to show how important the Falklands is and their self determination is. It sends quite a strong signal."

Dick Sawle, an MP in the Falklands, told BBC Radio 5Live the islands were "very grateful" for Mr Cameron's support.

"We have an absolute right to self-determination. Nobody has the right to remove that from us. It's enshrined in the UN charter and that's something which we will be following, and something Argentina wishes to ignore," he said.

"Argentina would like to annex us to Argentina and I think that is totally unacceptable in the modern world."

Blockade

Ms Fernandez has repeatedly requested talks on the islands' future and accused the UK of "arrogance" for refusing to negotiate.

She has said the British "continue to be a crude colonial power in decline" and accused Britain of "taking Argentine resources" from the islands and the waters around them.

Washington has also called on Britain and Argentina to negotiate but the UK government has said it is "not prepared to discuss the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands against the wishes of the Falkland people".

In December, the Mercosur grouping of countries, which includes Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay, announced that it would ban ships sailing under the Falkland Islands flag from docking at their ports.

But Foreign Secretary William Hague said at the time he had held "productive and honest discussions with Uruguay, Chile and Brazil" and all three had said they had "no intention of participating in an economic blockade of the Falkland Islands".

He said the countries had agreed to allow Falklands-related commercial shipping access if they were flying the Red Ensign - the flag of the UK, its Crown Dependencies and its Overseas Territories - or another national flag

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