Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Falkland Islands to hold referendum on sovereignty

        Gavin Short announced the referendum, which visiting UK minister Jeremy Browne welcomed

The Falkland Islands will hold a referendum on its "political status" in a bid to end the dispute with Argentina over the archipelago's sovereignty.
The islands' government made the announcement ahead of the anniversary on marking 30 years since the end of Argentina's 74-day occupation in 1982.
It said it wanted to send a firm message to Argentina that islanders want to remain British.
The UK prime minister said Britain would support the result of the vote.
The referendum will be organised by the Falkland Islands government and will take place in the first half of next year.
'Economic blockade'
The announcement comes amid growing tensions between the UK and Argentina surrounding the anniversary commemorations marking the islands' liberation by British forces on 14 June, 1982.
Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Brown is currently there on an official trip.
Argentina claims sovereignty over the islands it calls the Malvinas, and wants the UK to negotiate over their rule.
Recently, UK ministers have accused Argentina of trying to impose an "economic blockade" on the islands.
The South American country has been turning away cruise ships carrying the British flag and is taking legal action against five British oil firms exploring the coast of the islands.
Gavin Short, chairman of the islands' legislative assembly, said they were holding the referendum "to show the world just how certain we are about it [our future]".
"I have no doubt that the people of the Falklands wish for the islands to remain a self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom.
"We certainly have no desire to be ruled by the government in Buenos Aires, a fact that is immediately obvious to anyone who has visited the islands and heard our views.
"But we are aware that not everybody is able to come to these beautiful islands and to see this reality for themselves.
"And the Argentine government deploys misleading rhetoric that wrongly implies that we have no strong views or even that we are being held hostage by the UK military. This is simply absurd."

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