Britain snubs Argentina

LONDON — Downing Street has strongly rebuffed a call by Argentina’s president for the UK to return the Falkland Islands.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner had urged UK Prime Minister David Cameron to abide by a 1965 UN resolution to “negotiate a solution” to the dispute.

But a spokesman for Cameron said the people of the Falklands had shown “a clear desire to remain British” and their interests would be protected.

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

In an open letter to Cameron, published as an advert in the Guardian newspaper and the Independent, President Fernandez repeats calls for the islands – which are known as the Malvinas in Argentina – to come under the sovereignty of her nation.

The Argentine president says the islands were forcibly stripped from Argentina in “a blatant exercise of 19th Century colonialism”.

Downing Street said the prime minister would “do everything to protect the interests of the Falklands islanders”.

Cameron’s spokesman said the people of the Falklands had shown “a clear desire to remain British” and the Argentine government should respect their right to self determination.

The spokesman also urged the Argentine government to abide by the outcome of the referendum.

And, in a statement issued earlier, a spokesman for the Falklands Islands government said: “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.”

Last year marked 30 years since the Falklands War, when the islands were occupied by Argentine forces for 74 days. (BBC)

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