3 Jan 2013

Argentina calls, again, for Falklands handover

7:18 pm on 3 January 2013

The Argentinian president is calling on the British prime minister, David Cameron, to start negotiations on handing over the Falkland Islands.

In a letter published in a British newspaper, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner demanded Britain abide by a 1965 United Nations resolution that said the islands should be decolonised, the BBC reports.

In response, Britain said there could be no negotiations on sovereignty as long as the people of the Falklands wished to remain British.

Argentina's president has called on the UK government to hand over the Falkland Islands, in an open letter printed in the Guardian newspaper.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner urges David Cameron to abide by a 1965 UN resolution to "negotiate a solution" over the islands.

The letter says they were forcibly stripped from Argentina in "a blatant exercise of 19th-century colonialism".

The government said the Falklands' population had chosen to be British.

The Foreign Office said there could be no negotiations on the sovereignty of the Falklands "unless and until such time as the islanders so wish".

A referendum on the islands' political status is to be held in March.

The letter is published as an advert. It follows repeated calls by President Fernandez for the islands - which are known as the Malvinas in Argentina - to come under the sovereignty of her nation.

Forcibly stripped

Last year, marked 30 years since the Falkland's War, when the islands were occupied by Argentine forces for 74 days.

Ms Fernandez says her letter is published on the same date - 3 January - when, 180 years ago: "Argentina was forcibly stripped of the Malvinas Islands, which are situated 14,000km away from London".

She goes on: "The Argentines on the Islands were expelled by the Royal Navy and the United Kingdom subsequently began a population implantation process similar to that applied to other territories under colonial rule.

"Since then, Britain, the colonial power, has refused to return the territories to the Argentine Republic, thus preventing it from restoring its territorial integrity."

In her final paragraph, she ends: "In the name of the Argentine people, I reiterate our invitation for us to abide by the resolutions of the United Nations."

Chosen to be British

Argentina says it inherited ownership of the islands from Spain, arguing that British colonists occupied the islands by force in 1833 and expelled settlers, violating Argentina's territorial integrity.

It also bases its claim on the islands' proximity to the South American mainland. The islands' capital, Port Stanley, lies about 1898km from the Argentine capital Buenos Aires.

A UK Foreign Office spokeswoman said that the Falkland Islanders "are British and have chosen to be so".

"They remain free to choose their own futures, both politically and economically, and have a right to self-determination as enshrined in the UN Charter," she added.

"This is a fundamental human right for all peoples.

"There are three parties to this debate, not just two as Argentina likes to pretend.

"The islanders can't just be written out of history."