In a strong re-assertion of its confidence in the future of the Falkland Islands, its Government has organised a major Forum in London on the scope for economic development and investment opportunities.
The Forum, on July 12, entitled "Sustaining a Secure Future", has attracted more than 125 delegates, including technical experts, businessmen and potential investors, academics, politicians and journalists.
They are led by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister of State, Mr John Battle, MP, who opens the conference with a keynote speech, "A Political and Economic Overview of the Islands".
The Falkland Islands own senior government officials have arranged a comprehensive programme of the Islands' economic activities and its hopes and plans for the future.
Explaining the reasons for the Forum, the Falkland Islands Government Chief Executive, Dr Michael Blanch, said: "We are at a crucial stage in our development, and the time is right to reflect on our achievements and plan with confidence for the challenges of the Twenty-First Century".
There are four main themes: "Diversification and Development", by Chief Executive Dr Michael Blanch; "Responsible Mineral Exploration", by the Director of Mineral Resources, Mrs Phyl Rendell; and two British Geological Survey experts, Dr Nigel Fannin and Dr Philip Stone; "Commercial Fishing: Opportunities and Conservation -- Striking a Balance" by Director of Fisheries, Mr John Barton; and "Sustainable Diversification in Agriculture" by Director of Agriculture, Mr Robert Reid.
There are separate workshop sessions focusing on these main themes, and a plenary session looking to the future, called "Prospects for the New Millennium".
Falkland Islands Councillor Lewis Clifton winds up the Forum.
Harold Briley, London