UK & World News
Falklands To Hold Vote On Sovereignty
The Falkland Islands are to hold a referendum on their "political status" in a bid to end the continuing dispute with Argentina over their sovereignty.
The vote will be held in the first half of 2013, the Falklands government said.
The announcement comes amid increasing tensions between Britain and Argentina over the disputed territory, which the South American country calls Las Malvinas.
Britain has controlled the islands since 1833 - except for 74 days of occupation in 1982 - but Argentina claims it inherited rights to them from Spain upon its declaration of independence in 1863.
The Falkland Islands government said it hopes a referendum will send a message to the Argentinian president that islanders want to remain British.
"I have no doubt that the people of the Falklands wish for the islands to remain a self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom," Gavin Short, chairman of the islands' Legislative Assembly, said.
"We certainly have no desire to be ruled by the government in Buenos Aires, a fact that is immediately obvious to anyone who has visited the islands and heard our views....
"The Argentine government deploys misleading rhetoric that wrongly implies that we have no strong views or even that we are being held hostage by the UK military.
"This is simply absurd."
Foreign Secretary William Hague said the UK backs the referendum.
"The British Government has been consistent in its view that the future of the Falklands can only be determined by the people who live there," he said.
"So the Prime Minister and I support this initiative to demonstrate - without doubt - the definitive view of the Falkland Islands people."
While Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne, who arrived on the islands on Monday, described the announcement as a "truly significant moment".
"It will give the Falkland Islands people the opportunity to send a clear message - not just to Argentina, but to the whole of the international community - that the islanders, and they alone, are masters of their fate," he said.
"Whilst it is for the islanders to choose, let me be clear: the British Government greatly values the links between the UK and the Falkland Islands.
"We believe these should continue and deepen, long into the future.
"And if this proves to be the will of the Falkland Islands people, then we in the UK will not just respect it, but will continue actively to defend this act of self-determination from those who seek to challenge it."
The territory is 7,780 miles from the UK and 1,140 miles from Buenos Aires, but the Falkland Island government's UK representative said its location does not matter.
"The distance is irrelevant really, it's how we feel," Sukey Cameron told Sky News.
"And most of the population have very strong links with the UK.
"The Islands are an incredibly British place - it's very obvious when you're there just how British the feeling is."
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the bloody conflict between Argentina and the UK - but tensions between the two countries have escalated over recent months.
Argentina has taken steps to sue a number of UK's oil exploration companies that have drilled around the islands.
And it described the decision to send Prince William to the region for part of his helicopter rescue pilot training as "provocative".
Christina Fernandez de Kirchner, the Argentine President, also accused the UK of "militarising" the South Atlantic when it sent the Royal Navy's most advanced warship - HMS Dauntless - to the islands.
While the British Government and the International Olympics Committee criticised an Argentine advert featuring one of their Olympic hopefuls preparing on the Falkland Islands.
The population of the islands is around 3,000, and just over half of those on the electoral role are expected to vote in the referendum.
what do you think?
So Argentina gains its independence from Spain in 1863 thus becoming free, then immediately proposes to subjugate people who have been living in the Falkland Islands for the previous 30 years!!. and they call us colonialists !!!
Well said sir.
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Tell the argies were to go - or we will smash them. It's about time this country stood up for itself and told them were to get off.
We did last time John. If we are going to mallet them again we need to crack on becausewith Cameron, Clegg and the rest of the seven dwarves in charge, we won't have enough troops left to police a football match
Volunteering to go, are you John. Or are you going to leave it to the armed forces, or someone else. Something for you to gossip about in the pub, when others are being burned and maimed. It's not a game , it's people , killing other people. Smash them ??? Get a grip !!!
Right on aa aa. I remember when Her Hitler was trying to smash me! People who have never experienced the terror of outright warfare know too little to urge it on others. It may be an old number - but just have a listen to Donnovan in the 1960's: <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UC9pc4U40sI&feature=related" rel='nofollow'>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UC9pc4U40sI&feature=related</a> Its still relevant today.
"Smash" "mallet them"??? Many young men did not return home after the last armed conflict over these islands. Life is cheap to people like you and I find it disgusting. I absolutely support the rights of the islanders to self determine which country they wis to belong to, but lets not hunger for war and more deaths
But do theFalklanders want this referundum or is it a way of selling them "down the river" as we have with many others, who just want to get on with their lives.
Er... What? The Falklanders have now got the opportunity to state THEIR preferences. How is this 'selling them down the river'? If they choose to be governed by Argentina, then so be it, but somehow I can't imagine that will be the case.
It is being organised by the Falkands governing body not the British government
Tell Argentina our government always carry out the will of the people except the people of the UK.
God help us as the Government is now getting rid of 40,000 soldiers, 30,000 sailors and 20,000 RAF so our total armed forces will be the smallest in the world. The Army will be smaller than in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings. The navy will be smaller than in 1630 and the RAF will be smaller than in 1912. In 1952 we had over 600 battleships, destroyers, frigates, aircraft carriers and other boats. Now we will have 15. This Government has destroyed the economy and is destroying every Private sector firm and the Armed forces and Police and border control. They are criminals
Windows Live User
Too True If Scotland go on their own followed by the Geordies our army will be gone (With the greatest respect to the Gurkhas)
There was no RAF in 1912 as it was not established until 1 April 1918. The RAF will be smaller than in 1930; the Royal Navy smaller than 1660; and the army smaller than in 1900.
Jonathan, there will still be many countries with armed forces smaller than ours... Argentina will be one of them!
Yes Labour is a true friend of the military isn't it...
So true, the past Governments have destroyed the UK and outright taken the 'Great' out of 'Great Britain' when will be the time when we are proud again of our Government?!
Welcome to the USA mates! I often wondered how people in the U.K. perceive the US military since many here view our military in a "guardian of the gates" role of the worlds Democracies. Obama wishes to scale down the military to aid social programs. Any thoughts?
Windows Live User
To the people of The Falkland Islands Blow Argentina a big Raspberry Thrrrrrppprrpppp
I love it even the Scottish don't get a referendum and they want out! Hysterics!
Rubbish. Scotland can have a referendum, it is just that Salmond wants to delay it until 2014.
Thomas Jenkinson makes an excellent point: everyone nods heads at the prospect of the people of the Falklands taking measures to determine their future, and yet in Scotland it's considered some sort of 'cheek' to want just this. David Wragg; No, 'Salmond' does not want to delay anything; he has chosen the date when the Scottish people should determine their future - all very ligitimate and civilised - and folk in Westminster 'can't have that'. 'How dare the Scots want to break-away from OUR Union'.. Let's see a little reasonable behaviour, for once, when people wish to determine their own future.
If i had my way i'd wave the Scots off tomorrow and reactivate Hadrian's Wall the day after.
While a good idea in many ways, I doubtr whether this will have any effect on the Argentine position, just as the Gibraltar vote had none on that of Spain.
I'd let the Argies have the place, now. As long as they committed to looking after the war graves etc. Let's be honest, we only protected it in the 80s, because Maggot Thatcher, and Dennis had a big stake in the Falkland islands company. The same company that has now found oil .Colonialism is dead, and we shouldn't be keeping old wounds open.
So if someone came and laid a claim to your front garden, you'd just hand it over ? No ? - thought not
The Argies have no more rights to the Falklands. If we accept their argument - other countries could lay claims to their neighbours territory (as Hitler did). I think you just wanted to wind people up! The Argentinian muppets ruling their country want a smoke screen to hide all the problems in their own country and rights to the surrounding mineral and ocean wealth and section of Antartica.
so Gordon, you didn't know Dennis was a director, so you rubbish my comment. What a prat.
Gengis, my garden is a few yards away, and i claim it as mine. I think you are shooting yourself in the foot.If i made claim to a garden 7000 miles away, i would expect to be put in an asylum. What,s it like?
Thankfully you dont make the important decisions then aa aa.
I have never heard such a load of tripe in all my life.Its easy for you to say,you dont live there.
I am glad that the people of the Falklands are having the referendum into this matter but I don't think it's going to make a bit of difference to the Argentinians' view, they have a bee in their bonnet about this and won't be happy until they are handed back the islands which will never happen and if it does, it should be because it's the islanders decision.
They can't be "given back" something that was never theirs in the first place
yes, if the argies took the isle of wight, we couldn't complain. Same rules, eh Genghis ?dill
The Falklands have never had anything to do with Argentina. Wasn't even a gleam in Spain's eye when we colonized them. What about the Islander's wishes? Or don't you care? Hmmm, probably too patriotic for the likes of you we can't have that...
I doubt if the isle of Wight would vote to be Argentine would they?
At the closest, the Falklands are more than 200 miles from the coast of South America, so comparisons with the Isle of Wight, three miles off the coast of Hampshire, are not relevant.
As aa don't even bother with half these posters. They contradict themselves non stop. Complaim about immigrants in England then when it comes to being immigrants in northern ireland, Gibraltar, Falklands. They set other rules. Clueless bunch.
You tell me why I am here Mr peter field. As you probably already made up your reasoning why I am here.
The will of the islanders is to remain British as will be proved by this referendum. There must be no negotiation on sovereignty. My only fear is that if Argentina invaded again could we defend the islands with all the military cutbacks here? Argentina has said it will not use force again but can we really believe that??
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For those comparing the Falklands with the Isleo fo Wight, at the closest, the Falklands are more than 200 miles from the coast of South America, so comparisons with the Isle of Wight, three miles off the coast of Hampshire, are not relevant.
and Maggie, over lunch one day took a cruiser, with all hands apparently to make him give it back I don't know how British people feel about the Falkland Islands. I only know how Roger Waters feels! Seems to me if the citizens wish to remain with the UK they must be allowed to do so just as Taiwan does not wish to rejoin China.