Prime Minister David Cameron ratified full and resolute British commitment to the Falkland Islands sovereignty and to the development of its economy and defence. However he also admitted that “it is in all our interests that we maintain a constructive working relationship with Argentina”.
In his first Christmas message as PM to the Falklands Cameron said that “we have no doubts whatsoever about the United Kingdom’s sovereignty over the Falkland Islands. And there can and will be no negotiations on the sovereignty of the Islands unless you, the Falkland Islanders, want them”.
Further on he emphasized “that we will continue to support efforts to diversify your economy” which this year “has seen the start of the current round of hydrocarbons exploration in the waters around your Islands”.
And on defence he underlined that “the security of the Falkland Islands has been in no way diminished” because the Commander of the British Forces in the South Atlantic “will have the right range of potent assets to defend the Islands – and reinforce quickly if necessary”.
Follows the full text of UK Prime Minister David Cameron:
“I am delighted to be sending my first Christmas message to the Falkland Islands. The Falklands is one of our most important overseas communities and I very much hope that I will have the chance to visit during my time as Prime Minister. I was delighted that one of my first visitors to Downing Street was Lady Thatcher who did so much to uphold your liberty.
“I am sure you will have followed events back in Britain closely over the past year. The first Coalition government for 65 years has seen two parties – the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats – put aside party difference to work together in the national interest. We have had to make some tough decisions – not least to get to grips with the biggest budget deficit since the Second World War and a £38 billion black hole in the future defence plans. But as we look to the New Year, I hope we can do so with a growing sense of optimism that we are getting Britain’s finances back on a sound footing.
“Like everyone else, you will want to know what the decisions we have made will mean for you. In particular, what they mean for your economy; and how your security will be affected. Let me briefly try to answer these questions.
“The first thing to say is that we will continue to support efforts to diversify your economy. This year has seen the start of the current round of hydrocarbons exploration in the waters around your Islands. It has been an exciting time. The news has sometimes been encouraging, and yet also sometimes disappointing. While there is no guarantee of commercially viable finds, many of you must already be thinking about the impact that exploitation would have on your way of life. I want to make sure that you control how any such change happens, and ensure that your community reaps the benefits from it.
“Of course, hydrocarbons exploration has also meant that relationships in the region have been all the more difficult. There have been attempts to disrupt shipping to the Islands: we have made it clear that we do not believe these attempts comply with international law.
“It is in all our interests that we maintain a constructive working relationship with Argentina. And we will continue to do so. At the G20 and on tackling climate change, there is common ground to be found. But let me reassure you, we will stand resolutely beside you on any question of sovereignty. We have no doubts whatsoever about the United Kingdom’s sovereignty over the Falkland Islands. And there can and will be no negotiations on the sovereignty of the Islands unless you, the Falkland Islanders, want them.
“As a result of the Strategic Defence and Security Review, there has been no change to the forces at the disposal of the Commander of the British Forces in the South Atlantic Islands. He will have the right range of potent assets to defend the Islands – and reinforce quickly if necessary. So let me say clearly, the security of the Falkland Islands has been in no way diminished.
“The UK’s commitment to your Islands is without question. Our interest in your prosperity, our determination to ensure your security and our resolve to stand beside you on any question of sovereignty remain as strong as ever.
“I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous and successful 2011”.