UK & World News
Falkland Islanders Vote To Remain British
David Cameron has demanded that Argentina respect the result of a referendum in the Falklands which saw an overwhelming majority back staying under British rule.
Just three voted 'No' in the ballot about remaining a British Overseas Territory, with 99.8% supporting the status quo.
International observers ratified the poll, in which 92% of eligible voters - or 1,513 people - took part, as "free and fair"
The Prime Minister warned that Argentina should take "careful note" of the result, which he said was the clearest possible message.
"The Falkland Islands may be thousands of miles away but they are British through and through. That is how they want to stay," he said.
"They want to remain British and that view should be respected by everybody, including by Argentina."
Nigel Haywood, governor of the Falkland Islands, added: "You don't get a much clearer expression of the people's self-determination than such a large turn out and such a large yes vote."
Argentina has yet to officially react to the referendum but had already dismissed the vote as illegal and "pointless".
It claims the people have no voice in deciding what is a dispute about sovereignty that should be resolved directly with Britain.
But delighted residents, who sang Land Of Hope And Glory and Rule Britannia after the result, insisted they must be heard.
One woman celebrating in Stanley told Sky News: "It sends such a strong message to the world that we've been here for a long time.
"We have the right to determine our own future. How long do you have to live in a country before you're allowed to call it your own?"
The referendum was organised after a deterioration in relations between Britain and Argentina, which claims the Falklands and in 1982 invaded the islands it calls Las Malvinas.
During the war to take back the islands, 255 British serviceman died as well as 655 Argentinians and three locals.
Relations appeared to warm for a period until Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner restated her country's claims of sovereignty and tried to raise the issue with David Cameron and the UN.
Although Buenos Aires dismissed the referendum as illegitimate and refused to talk to Falkland politicians, the islanders hope other countries in South and Central America will be more sympathetic.
As the counting took place in Stanley Town Hall, it quickly became clear the piles of "Yes" votes were growing steadily, while "No" votes were nowhere to be seen.
There was a delay in announcing the result because one vote went missing during the count but officials eventually decided it was not worth a recount for a single missing ballot.
The result means the Falklands will continue to run its own affairs, but shelter under the wing of the motherland when it comes to defence and foreign policy.
Falklands' legislators know the referendum will be dismissed by the Argentine government, but one of them, Dick Sawle had this message for President Kirchner.
"Listen, this is what we've said and it's time you respected our human rights," he said. "It's time you stopped harassing us; it's time you stopped your very aggressive stance towards us.
"We'll be taking that message to various governments and saying 'look, self determination is a fundamental human right, you can't ignore it'. This is what the people of the Falklands have said. Do you have a problem with that?"
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what do you think?
Wonder who tbe odd three voters are..
People remember the oil reserves around the falklands but tend to forget its also important for our claims to parts of antartica which is currently being disputed between chile and argentina.
Good. Now let's stand by them, otherwise the sacrifices of 1982 will have been in vain. Argentina has territorial demands that are beyond all reason. The Falklands are more than 200 miles from Argentina at their closest. They were never a Spanish colony and so were not signed over to the Argentinians.
Our territorial demands stretch 8000 miles across the Atlantic. Bit excessive for the need era don't you think?
The point is that so many people think as you do - which is why I always emphasise that the Falklands are not some kind of Latin American Isle of Wight. The point is that our people are settled there and have a right to decide which country they will be allied with.,
Only three? Should've gone to Specsavers ;)
Just goes to show that some Brits are allowed to vote on their future but not us 50 million plus here at home all we get is being fobbed off with vague promises, But then again the Falkland result means nothing. If Camerons faceless controllers in Europe say hand them over to the Argies he will do just that, he has already sold Britain out to its former enemies and wont hesitate to do the same to the islanders. He knows that if he doesn't the next Gov. will as they are all in the deep pockets of their Euro. masters, and whats more Cameron wants his future assured.
I think your depiction of Cameron and the EU puts you high among the ranks of the great fiction writers, Russell.
For example, our "Euro. masters" (presumably " our "former enemies") also have to accept rules that have been agreed democratically and by common consent) Before the EU, nobody was allowed to export beers to Germany because of their strict laws on the purity of beer. The European Court obliged them to accept beer imports in the interests of fair competition. The Germans didn't like it but they had to lump it. And you think that the Germans are in control?
Wow what a surprise.
Why can't the moaning people on here just accept that the falklanders want to remain British end of.
So you respect a Falklanders opinion, but you don't respect the opinion of people on your own turf.
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Well done. Now Argentinia hands off, the people have decided
Crushing Dictatorship has long and lingeringly been the order of the day in certain parts of the world, especially South America, Argentina included - even if that country has veered for the moment onto the path of democracy. But the thinking of the past smolders on. It is a little late in the day to arbitrarily brush aside an overwhelming 'will of the people' democratic decision in favour of the old-time brute-force and ignorance, muscle-flexing feudal land-grab. Argentina certainly can't argue they need the lebensraum. The Falklanders have carved out a precarious existence for themselves in a harsh and isolated environment with grit and staying power. They have made it their own and have earned it. For God's sake leave them alone to live in peace.
Why anyone from any nationality would chose to live in such a remote part of the world beats me. If the Islanders love Britian so much why don't they return to the UK mainland?
Does that also apply to people on the Isle of Wight,the Shetlands,Orkney's etc?
Probably because they don't recognise the place anymore.
I wonder how many Falklander`s would have voted yes if the ballot paper stated. "Each Falklander must pay £5000.00 each year to help with the defence of the Islands." Complete waste of our taxpayers money.