Minister’s Falklands broadside as Argentina pulls out of pact
FOREIGN Secretary James Cleverly has reit- erated that ‘the Falkland Islands are British’ after Argentina pulled out of a co-operation pact the two nations signed in 2016.
Argentina wants to open talks to discuss sovereignty of the islands, which lie off its coast but are a self-governing overseas territory of the UK. Mr Cleverly was informed of the move by his Argentinian counterpart, Santiago Cafiero, at the G20 summit in India this week.
In the 2016 deal, both sides effectively ‘agreed to disagree’ on the sovereignty of the Falklands in favour of trying to ‘improve co-operation on South Atlantic issues of mutual interests’. These include energy, shipping and fishing, and identifying the remains of Argentine soldiers killed in the Falklands War in 1982.
The Argentine government invited the UK to ‘hold a meeting to settle’ the debate at the United Nations in New York.
Mr Cleverly said: ‘The Falkland Islands are British. Islanders have the right to decide their own future – they have chosen to remain a self-governing UK overseas territory.’ A 2013 poll on the islands resulted in a 99.8 per cent vote to remain British.