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Montevideo, April 23rd 2024 - 08:43 UTC

 

 

Foreign minister Cameron confirms visit to Falklands, and to Brazil and Paraguay

Sunday, February 18th 2024 - 09:36 UTC
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British flags and 'British to the core' banners had Stanley residents fill the streets when referendum results were released British flags and 'British to the core' banners had Stanley residents fill the streets when referendum results were released
Islanders celebrating the results of the March 2013 referendum when they overwhelmingly voted to remain a British Overseas Territory Islanders celebrating the results of the March 2013 referendum when they overwhelmingly voted to remain a British Overseas Territory
President Cristina Kirchner in 2012, during the G20 meeting in Mexico tried to hand then PM Cameron a package branded ÚN Malvinas” President Cristina Kirchner in 2012, during the G20 meeting in Mexico tried to hand then PM Cameron a package branded ÚN Malvinas”
Foreign minister Cameron and president Milei shake hands following the friendly meeting in Davos where it was politely “agreed to disagree” Foreign minister Cameron and president Milei shake hands following the friendly meeting in Davos where it was politely “agreed to disagree”

British foreign minister David Cameron said on Sunday that the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands will not be up for discussion as long as they want to remain a British territory. Cameron is preparing to make the first visit to the Falklands by a cabinet minister since 2016, according to a report from BBC.

 The trip comes ahead of a summit of the foreign ministers of the G20 countries, which include Argentina and the UK.

Last month Argentina's President Javier Milei called for the Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean to be handed over diplomatically suggesting a “Hong Kong ” similar UK exit situation.

Lord Cameron reiterated the UK government's longstanding position the Islands' sovereignty is non-negotiable while its residents wish it to be British.

Speaking ahead of the trip, he said: “The Falkland Islands are a valued part of the British family, and we are clear that as long as they want to remain part of the family, the issue of sovereignty will not be up for discussion.

”The Falkland Islanders should be proud of the modern, prosperous community they have built.”

The foreign secretary's visit is against a backdrop of continued calls by Argentina for the self-governed territory to be handed to Buenos Aires. After his meeting with recently inaugurated (10 December, 2023) President Milei in January at Davos, the foreign minister underlined non-negotiable sovereignty over the Falklands, (which Argentina calls Islas Malvinas). Media comments and a release at the end of the meeting, which was described as “warm and friendly”, indicated Cameron said “they would agree to disagree, and do so politely”.

The Islands with a population of 3,600 according to the latest census, are 8,000 miles from the UK and 300 miles off the coast of Argentina, were the subject of war in 1982 claiming the lives of 255 British servicemen, three islanders and 649 Argentine personnel, mostly unprepared conscripts.

In 2013, when Lord Cameron was prime minister, Islanders voted in a 90% turnout referendum, with 1,513 were in favor of remaining a UK overseas territory while just three votes were against.

President Milei and his foreign minister, Diana Mondino, had previously suggested a Hong-Kong style handover and stressed war “is not a solution”.

Furthermore, minister Mondino caused a great impact when she publicly stated during the Milei election campaign and later in office, that “Islanders rights must be respected” and “you can't impose decisions on peoples.”

During his coming visit to the South Atlantic Islands, Lord Cameron is expected to pay his respects to those who lost their lives during the conflict, meet leaders of the Falkland Islands government in the capital Stanley, as well as greet the Islands' penguins.

The last cabinet minister to visit the islands was then-Defense Secretary Michael Fallon in 2016.

Lord Cameron is then set to visit Paraguay - the first time a British foreign secretary has visited the South American nation.

Afterwards he will attend a meeting of G20 nations - including Russia's Sergei Lavrov - in Brazil on Wednesday.

During the G20 meeting in 2012 held in Mexico, then Prime Minister Cameron and Argentine president Cristina Fernandez were involved in bruising verbal exchanges, as she tried to force a package into his hand marked “UN Malvinas”.

Cameron refused to take the package believing, according to his aides, that she was involved in “a media stunt” – a belief strengthened by the presence of TV cameras filming the incident.

An Argentine government later officially described Cameron as “sour” for refusing the letter and the Argentine foreign minister of the time Héctor Timmerman, who argued all along his tenure that the Falklands people had no rights since they are an “implanted population,” was most critical of the prime minister.

The Falklands elected government last Friday had anticipated the visit of a VVIP, in a release without revealing the name of the very important person, and made public an agenda of activities for the unnamed visitor beginning next Monday, inviting the locals to participate.

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  • FitzRoy

    I would love to know how Argentines, such as Timmerman, still believe Islanders are somehow “implanted”. So many Argentine tourists and never once has even one of them found any evidence of this.

    And, as for expecting the British Gov't to just handover the Falklands in some weird “Hong Kong-type” agreement? They still cannot get their heads around the fact that Hong Kong was only ever leased to Britain.

    Feb 19th, 2024 - 08:15 am +1
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