London (AFP) – Britain has reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands After Argentina withdrew from a cooperation agreement and demanded new talks on the South Atlantic region that ignited the 1982 war between the two countries.
The statement came after Argentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero said on Twitter that he had informed British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly of his country’s decision when the two met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in India last week.
“British Falkland Islands,” Cleverly tweeted late Friday. “Islands have the right to decide their own future – they have chosen to remain a self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom.”
Earlier, Cafiero said he told Cleverly that Argentina had decided to withdraw from a 2016 agreement in which the two countries pledged to work together on a variety of issues. While that agreement sought to improve cooperation in the South Atlantic, both sides continued to assert sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, known as the Malvinas Islands in Argentina.
Cafiero also said he proposed new talks in line with a 1965 United Nations General Assembly resolution that encouraged Britain and Argentina to find a peaceful solution to the dispute over the islands.
Argentina has long claimed sovereignty over the islands, which lie about 300 miles (480 kilometers) from South America and are home to about 3,500 people.
Argentina says the islands were illegally taken from them in 1833. Britain, which says its territorial claim dates back to 1765, sent a warship to the islands in 1833 to drive out Argentine forces who sought to assert sovereignty over the territory.
Argentina invaded the islands in 1982, sparking a two-month war that claimed the lives of 255 British soldiers, three islanders, and 649 Argentine personnel. The Argentine forces were eventually driven back and Britain re-established control.
In 2013 the population voted overwhelmingly to remain in the UK Overseas Territory.
David Rutley, the British Minister for the Americas, expressed his disappointment at Argentina’s decision.
“Argentina chose to walk away from the agreement that brought relief to the families of those who died in the 1982 conflict,” Ratley, who recently visited Buenos Aires, said on Twitter. Argentina, the United Kingdom and the Falkland Islands benefited from this agreement. ”
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