A Falkland Islands elected Councillor said in Chile that full independence from the United Kingdom in the future is not ruled out.
"Currently because of the sovereignty issue (claimed by Argentina) we haven't even considered it, but I believe, in my opinion, there's no reason why we should not consider full independence in the future", said Councillor Richard Davies interviewed last Saturday by Santiago's daily La Tercera. Davis who stopped over in Chile on his way to the Falklands from New York said that "the size of a country is no reason not to have full independence".
However Councillor Davies pointed out that he would like to see advances in "practical cooperation" with Argentina, although admitting that strained relations make an approximation between both sides "difficult".
"The issue of sovereignty is virtually intractable. That is why it should be left aside and move on to cooperation which benefits both countries. I think the people of Argentina possibly would agree with me if they knew about it", added Davies who was one of two elected Councillors representing the Falklands before the United Nations Decolonization Committee.
Councillor Davies insisted there "very little to justify" Argentina's sovereignty claim over the Falkland Islands.
"The brief occupation in the 19th century cannot give Argentina rights over a people who have peacefully developed their country for 7 or 8 generations", he said underlining that "we're not a colony. We have our right to self-determination".
Councillor Davies pointed out that the Islands have a high degree of internal self-government, strong democratic institutions and are financially self sufficient with defense and foreign affairs under UK responsibility.
"The Falkland Islands are not part of Argentina, and they never have been. The territorial integrity argument is misconceived and has no merit or validity".
The dispute with Argentina is once again in the front line because next July the Falklands' government awarded long term fishing licences (up to 25 years) become effective, an issue which has particularly irritated the President Nestor Kirchner administration.
Argentina also believes that with the international oil price surge another confrontation with the UK is the making as hydrocarbons exploration in Falklands' waters advances to test drilling.
Councillor Davies also admitted that in the long term the 1982 conflict was beneficial for Islanders aspirations since it attracted UK attention to the South Atlantic.