The Falkland Islands, the South American islands subject to a bitter territorial dispute between the United Kingdom and Argentina, are to have a referendum over their links to the UK.
Here’s a full statement from David Cameron, via The Guardian:
I have always said that it is up to the Falkland Islanders themselves to choose whether they want to be British and that the world should listen to their views. 30 years ago they made clear that they wanted to stay British.
That’s why British forces bravely liberated the island from Argentine invaders. Now the Argentine Government wants to put that choice in doubt again, by shouting down the Islanders’ ability to speak for themselves and punishing them for exercising their own free choice. That’s why it’s absolutely right that the Islanders have today set out how they intend to make their voices heard once more. And Britain will be resolute in supporting their choice.
Next year’s referendum will determine beyond doubt the views of the people of the Falklands. Britain will respect and defend their choice. We look to all UN members to live up to their responsibilities under the UN charter and accept the Islanders’ decision about how they want to live.
Consensus on the islands in the past has overwhelmingly been in favour of keeping the link to the UK, with one poll in the 1980s suggesting 94.5% want to remain British (most of the islanders are descended from the UK and immigration is capped). It would appear that the referendum is part of a campaign to end claims to the islands by Argentina, who fought a war with the UK over their sovereignty almost 30 years ago.
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