The British Prime Minister Tony Blair, has told the population of the Falkland Islands that the forthcoming 20th anniversary of the Falklands War should be approached, 'in the spirit of some reconciliation' (with Argentina).
Mr. Blair, in his annual Christmas message to the Islanders, which was broadcast on the BBC World Service, said that the 20th anniversary was a time to, 'remember and mourn all those civilians and service personnel tragically killed during the conflict'.
The British Prime Minister's message was recorded before the recent civil unrest in Argentina. He commented that, 'The last year saw another improvement in relations between Britain and Argentina. Differences remain as we continue to make clear that sovereignty over the Falklands is not open to negotiation. Our position is unchanged. The Falklands are British for as long as they wish to remain so'.
Despite being pre-occupied with events in Afghanistan, Mr. Blair continued the Christmas message tradition, started 19 years ago by the then Prime Minister, Mrs Margaret Thatcher. She had earlier orchestrated the Liberation of the Islanders, following the invasion of the Falklands on 2nd April 1982, by Argentine Forces.
Mr. Blair ended his message, saying, 'The firmness of Britain's commitments on the security and sovereignty of the Falkland Islands and on your right to self-determination provides the basis for you to shake off the insecurity of the past and to plan your future with certainty'.
The British Prime Minister's words follow reassurances given recently by Minister of State at the Foreign Office, Dennis Macshane.
Mr. Macshane who has responsibility for Britain's relations with Latin America, told the Islanders that, 'The sovereignty of the Falkland Islands is absolutely non-negotiable'.