“What we want is for the rights of the people of the Falklands to be respected, and one of the main democratic principles is their right to self-determination. We are asking our friends to respect their wishes”, said David Rutley, Foreign Office minister for the Americas and Caribbean during a recent visit to Peru.
Minister Rutley visited Peru because this year is the anniversary of the second century of bilateral and close relations between Great Britain and the Andean country. According to Lima media, UK is Europe's main trade partner of Peru, and the two countries share common values, democracy and human rights, and interests in education, technology, agriculture and environment. Precisely in this area a Memorandum of Understanding for the protection of the Amazon basin was signed during Rutley's visit.
Britain also eliminated the need for a visa from Peruvians visitors given the growing tourism exchange between the two countries. It is expected that some 50,000 Britons will visit Peru and a growing number will travel to UK. Another area of close cooperation is graduate education with 280 Peruvian students having been granted Chevening scholarships to study in UK universities.
Hopefully we can expand the program and the number of Peruvian students in UK, so that they can bring back their experiences and knowledge to the country, said Minister Rutley.
Rutley also talked about Brexit, and said that when the British people wanted to abandon the EU, we did it, and what we are doing now is to reach our goals in the world, which includes more trade agreements, which we could not do under the EU
Finally we managed to sign a deal with the Andean countries, and now we are also engaged with the Transpacific Association, for which we are grateful to Peru for a quick ratification of the deal.
Brexit has happened and we are moving forward with new agreements and Peru is a perfect partner. UK investment in Peru is among the highest, and not only in mining but also in other areas, and I believe we can become strong partners in agriculture and technology
Finally on the Falklands issue, and the recent spat between UK and EU over the name of the Islands, minister Rutley was quiet diplomatic given the very close links of Peru and Argentina (given their common adversary Chile). For us it is a problem that has been solved and closed, and I believe the majority of countries in the world feel the same way. We're talking about democratic principles and liberties, and one of the most outstanding is the right to self determination. There was a referendum in the Islands ten years ago and the reply was unequivocal, Islanders wish to remain with the United Kingdom. Thus, we ask our friends to respect the rights and wishes of the Falklands people.
Minister Rutley was then asked, Argentine opposition presidential candidate Javier Milei has said that if elected he will pursue the possibility of implementing for the Falklands, a similar model to that applied by UK for Hong Kong. Any chances of such a possibility?
As I said, we respect the wishes of the people of the Falklands. We wish the Argentines a great success with their democratic process to elect a president, and at the same time we request that they respect the democratic rights of those living in the Falklands. We are not thinking of negotiating sovereignty or anything similar, since for us the most important is the self determination of the Falklands people and that we want to respect and have respected.''