Visiting United States Congressman Thomas E Petri expressed approval of the decision of Falkland Islanders to hold a referendum on the political status and future of the Falklands.
Currently visiting the Falklands, Petri told the Islands’ media that when the Falklands issue was raised internationally it was often asked ‘what do the people think’.
As such he believes “they would be encouraged that there is an internationally supervised or at least an accurate testing of the opinion of the people”.
He added “so I think this (the referendum) is an effort to tap into that sentiment and make it very clear that this is something that involves a lot of human beings rather than just a piece of territory, and human beings that have invested their life sometimes for seven or eight generations now, developing a style of life and businesses and family that need to be taken into account.”
Congressman Petri, who visited at the invitation of the Falkland Islands Government, explained that in the US there was no real difference of opinion on the Falklands issue between political parties.
However he said the US relationship, “with our hemispheric partners is very important.”
He noted that Argentina was an important country in Latin America, “and like you we would like to have good relations with the Argentines.”
But “they are currently having a lot of problems; their credit is bad, they are having their assets, if they should fall into other countries jurisdictions, impounded against their debts, so we hope they can figure out how to clean up their act and become a more responsible financial member of the world community.”
The Congressman also criticised difficulties caused to US cruise companies in the South Atlantic by Argentine government interference.
Congressman Petri is a republican and represents Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District, and is serving his seventeenth term in the US House of Representatives. First elected in April 1979, he has been returned to office every two years since.
Petri is a current member of both the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Committee on Education and the Workforce. He also sits as current member and former Chairman of the House British-American Parliamentary Group, an official organisation formed to strengthen relations with the British Parliament. (Penguin News)