British Prime Minister David Cameron has today dismissed a call by the president of Argentina for Britain to hand back the Falkland Islands.
Cristina Kirchner demanded in an open letter printed as full page adverts in the UK's Guardian and the Independent newspapers that the Prime Minister abide by UN resolutions to "negotiate a solution" to the row.
But Mr Cameron insisted that the future of the islands was up to the people who live there, not Argentina.
He told the leader that she should "listen" to the result of a referendum due to be held in March.
And he vowed that Falklands residents would have his full backing if they choose to remain British.
"The future of the Falkland Islands should be determined by the Falkland Islanders themselves, the people who live there," he said.
I went to the Falklands / Malvinas almost 20 years ago. I did not meet anyone keen to become part of Argentina, no one at all, the Argentine occupation of the islands of 1982 was still raw in their memory.
I don't know if much has changed in the thinking of the Islanders but I doubt it. Although they are a much more cosmopolitan bunch now apparently people of 60 nationalities live there now.
It is much more prosperous than in the past with exploitation of fisheries and now oil exploration bringing wealth to the Islands.
I doubt that the islanders are looking to rename the Islands from what they call the Falklands.
Barry Elsby, a member of the Islands' Legislative Assembly, said: "We understand that the Argentine government has put out a letter that both calls our home a colony and claims that the United Kingdom is ignoring United Nations General Assembly resolutions.
"We are not a colony; our relationship with the United Kingdom is by choice. Unlike the government of Argentina, the United Kingdom respects the right of our people to determine our own affairs, a right that is enshrined in the UN Charter and which is ignored by Argentina."
I have a feeling the Falkland Islands will remain with its British links for a long while yet. At least while the families and comrades of the British soldiers who lost their lives fighting to retake them from the Argentine invaders are still alive. Their sacrifice was very big in the minds of the Islanders when I was there. Maybe after that something may change particularly as Argentina is no longer a fascist country. The Argentine Junta lost power in their country partly because of their defeat in the Falklands / Malvinas war.
I made this photograph at an Islanders party held to honor the return of Ken Lukowiak a British Paratrooper who had fought to retake the islands and went on to write a telling devastating book about the war http://www.amazon.co.uk/Soldiers-Song-True-Stories-Falklands/dp/0753807572
Cheers Jez XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
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