The Falklands population has been reassured by a British Foreign Official, that there will be no direct air link between Buenos Aires and the Islands, without the approval of the 8 elected members of the Legislature.
Bill Rammell, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Overseas Territories, also said that the self-governing territory, "is not a Colony in the accepted sense....".
Mr Rammell responded to recent reports from Buenos Aires, which indicated that yet again several Argentine airlines are said to be interested in establishing a direct air link to the Islands. Speaking on Falkland radio he said, "I can understand the Islanders concerns over direct flights to Argentina, and it's clear - I think there is a meeting of minds between Islands Councillors and myself on behalf of the United Kingdom Government - that any future arrangements concerning direct flights must have the support of the Islanders".
His categoric response came not long after Councillor Mike Summers recently totally dismissed any suggestion that the Falkland Islands Government might consider agreeing to a direct air link between the Islands and Argentina.
Mr Rammell was also asked to comments on threats, published in an Buenos Aires newspaper, that the Argentine Government might intervene to stop charter flights by Lan Chile, from Santiago to the Falklands. These flights generally carry passengers who join cruise vessels which tour Antarctica and the island of South Georgia. The British Foreign Office official said, "This is an issue that we are discussing. I do understand the concerns of Falkland Islanders. The current situation is that the charter flights are continuing at the moment. That is something we want to happen and we are, through our regular diplomatic contacts with the Argentine Government, continuing to discuss this issue. I reiterate my earlier point that any future arrangements concerning airlinks have got to have the support of the Islanders".
Mr Rammell also supported the proposed introduction of a second scheduled weekly flight from Chile to the Falklands. "Having one direct flight does restrict travel opportunities, there is need for a second scheduled flight from Chile and commercial negotiations are at an advanced stage", said the Parliamentary Under-Secretary.
He strongly supported the view that the Falklands Government should continue to send representatives to the United Nations Committee of 24, the Decolonization Committee. "We welcome the fact that the Falkland Islands Government is represented. I think the fact that Falklands Councillors are present, and can communicate and put their views forward, can be helpful. The Falkland Islands are not a Colony in the accepted sense in the way the Committee of 24 normally looks at these issues".
"Special correspondent in Port Stanley"