Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking on the 30th anniversary of Britain’s victory over Argentina in the Falkland Islands, said there would be “no negotiation” over the territory’s future.
Britain and Argentina went to war in 1982 after Argentinian forces invaded the South Atlantic archipelago. Tensions have heightened this year, with Argentina protesting at the U.K.’s deployment of a modern warship to the region and Prince William’s arrival for a stint as a military-helicopter pilot. Argentina said last week five British oil companies are operating illegally near the islands by exploring for crude.
“When it comes to the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, there will be absolutely no negotiation,” Cameron said in a speech in London. “This is not some game of global Monopoly, with nations passing a territory between them. It’s about the Islanders determining their own future.”
Cameron said his government had “no aggressive intentions towards” Argentina, and that its protests about militarization of the islands were “hyperbole and propaganda.” He said he wanted to work with Argentina on issues such as fish stocks, trade and the environment.
“But do not underestimate our resolve,” he said. “Threats will not work. Attempts to intimidate the Islanders will not succeed. Because Britain stands ready and willing to stand up for the Falkland Islanders at any time.”
The Falklands government said June 12 it planned to hold a referendum on its status in the first half of next year, with the goal of showing that islanders wish to remain British.
A total of 255 British military personnel were killed while 649 Argentinian lives were lost in the conflict over the islands, which Argentina calls the Malvinas. Britain has since reinforced its armed forces on the islands, which have a population of about 2,500 people.
The Argentinian government said June 4 that Borders & Southern Petroleum Plc (BOR), Rockhopper Exploration Plc (RKH), Desire Petroleum Plc (DES), Argos Resources Ltd. and Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd. don’t have the required permits to operate off the Falklands. Salisbury, England-based Rockhopper and London-based Borders & Southern have announced discoveries.
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