May 19, 2013
'Islanders remain free to choose their own futures,' UK gov't responds
A day after President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner sent an open letter to be published as an advert in several UK newspapers calling on David Cameron’s government to re-open negotiations over the Malvinas islands, the UK responded: “the islanders remain free to choose their own futures.”
Fernández de Kirchner sent the letter on Wednesday, which was published today in some of the UK’s biggest national newspapers, on the 180th anniversary of the day the UK took over the disputed archipelago.
The strong-worded letter addressed to Cameron and copied to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said: “Argentina was forcibly stripped of the Malvinas Islands, which are situated 14,000 km from London, in a blatant exercise of 19th century colonialism.”
Today the UK’s Foreign Office responded, pulling back the focus of the issue to the rights of the islanders themselves, referring back to the UK’s response to the United Nations General Assembly at the beginning of last year.
An FCO spokesperson said: “The people of the Falklands are British and have chosen to be so.
“They remain free to choose their own futures, both politically and economically, and have a right to self-determination as enshrined in the UN Charter. This is a fundamental human right for all peoples.
“There are three parties to this debate, not just two as Argentina likes to pretend. The Islanders can’t just be written out of history.
“As such, there can be no negotiations on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless and until such time as the Islanders so wish.”
As far as responses from the Malvinas islands, Dr Barry Elsby, Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Islands, told “The Daily Telegraph” on Wednesday night: “We are not a colony – our relationship with the United Kingdom is by choice.
”Unlike the Government of Argentina, the United Kingdom respects the right of our people to determine our own affairs, a right that is enshrined in the UN Charter and which is which is ignored by Argentina.”
On Wednesday night the Foreign Office said that it “strenuously denied” that Britain expelled Argentine citizens from the Falklands in 1833.