British ambassador in Uruguay Ben Lyster-Binns said the coming referendum in the Falkland Islands involves the people of the Islands, United Kingdom and Argentina and expects the Uruguayan government to respect the referendum even when Foreign Minister Luis Almagro anticipated that the country will not recognize the results of the ballot.
“It will be a very significant event in which the people of the Falklands will make their voice heard worldwide, regarding their political status and future, and we want that decision to be respected”, said Ambassador Lyster-Binns in an interview published in the Sunday edition of Uruguay’s leading newspaper, El Pais.
He added it is an issue that involves three sides, the people of the Falklands, the British government and the Argentine government and “the collective discussion between all sides is the logic way to being understanding the different points of view and interests which is in other words talking to each other”.
The British ambassador explained that is why Foreign Secretary William Hague invited his Argentine counterpart Minister Hector Timerman during his visit to London to also meet with representatives from the Falklands’ government, which “regrettably Timerman did not accept. We are willing to discuss the issue with Argentina at any moment, always with the participation of members from the Falklands elected government since we are talking about the future”.
On March10/11 the people of the Falklands will reply to the following question: Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom? YES or NO”
“The voice of the Falklands’ people deserves to be heard”, said the British ambassador who paraphrasing Foreign Secretary Hague indicated that the Falklands have become a thriving democracy with a growing economy and through nine generations the people of the Falklands have worked tirelessly to establish their position in the world. “This will be a chance for the people of the Falkland Islands to express their views about how they wish to be governed, and in a democratic and incontestable way without other people speaking for them and for this they have the British Government’s full support”.
Lyster-Binns said that the right to self determination is guaranteed by the UN charter and praised Uruguay for its commitment to human rights, acknowledged internationally, for its abidance with the rule of law and International law, keeping to the rules of the game and a country where democracy “is one of the most precious values”.
When asked about Uruguay’s sponsorship at a Mercosur summit to bar all vessels with the Falklands’ flag from entering the group’s ports, the British ambassador said that all vessels heading for the Falklands are welcome in all Uruguayan ports as long as they fly the red ensign. “In fact it was President Jose Mujica who said he did not like to isolate people or interrupt trade”.
Finally Ambassador Lyster-Binns announced that a business delegation from the Falklands’ Development Corporation will be visiting Uruguay to explore alternatives to increase bilateral trade.