'The people of the Falklands are British' says Foreign Office as David Cameron rebuffs Argentina over 'colonialism' attack

Argentinian president launched a fierce attack on British "colonialism" and demanded the return of "Las Malvinas", in a letter published as an advert

David Cameron has rebuffed a renewed demand by Argentina to hand back the Falklands, insisting the islands’ residents had his “100 per cent backing” in their determination to remain British.

He hit back after the Argentinian president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, denounced British “colonialism” and said the United Kingdom should start talks on the Falklands’ sovereignty.

Mr Cameron retorted that she should listen to the result of a referendum to be held on the islands this year.

He said: “The future of the Falkland Islands should be determined by the Falkland Islanders themselves, the people who live there.

“Whenever they have been asked their opinion, they say they want to maintain their current status with the United Kingdom.”

The Foreign Office also commented today using the micro-blogging site Twitter.

The official FCO account said: “The people of the Falklands are British and have chosen to be so. They remain free to choose their own futures and have a right to self-determination as enshrined in the UN charter. There are three parties to this debate, not just two as Argentina likes to pretend. There can be no negotiations on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless and until such time as the islanders so wish.”

Ms de Kirchner’s intervention comes with relations between London and Buenos Aires at a low point.

She made several calls in 2012 – the 30th anniversary of the two countries going to war over the Falklands – for Britain to surrender the islands. She clashed face to face with the Prime Minister over the issue at the G20 summit in Mexico last June.

In response to toughening language from Buenos Aires, the Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the National Security Council last year to discuss the Falklands, explaining he wanted to “make sure our defences and everything else is in order”.

Last month Argentina also denounced the decision by the Government to name a huge tract of Antarctica, which it also claims, in honour of the Queen.

Yesterday Ms de Kirchner intensified the diplomatic row in a letter to Mr Cameron in which pointed out the “Malvinas” were 14,000km (8,700 miles) from London and claimed Argentina was forcibly stripped” of the islands in 1833.

She wrote: “The Argentines on the islands were expelled by the Royal Navy and the United Kingdom subsequently began a population implantation process similar to that applied to other territories under colonial rule.

“Since then Britain, the colonial power, has refused to return the territories to the Argentine Republic, thus preventing it from restoring its territorial integrity.

“The question of the Malvinas islands is also a cause embraced by Latin America and a vast majority of peoples and governments around the world that reject colonialism.”

Her argument was dismissed by Barry Elsby of the Falklands’ Legislative Assembly. He said: “We are not a colony – our relationship with the United Kingdom is by choice.”

Douglas Alexander, the shadow Foreign Secretary, said: “The Falkland islanders have an established right to self-determination as enshrined in the UN charter and it is right Britain continues to defend this right. “

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: FP&A Analyst -Home Entertainment

£250 - £300 per day: Sauce Recruitment: (Rolling) 3 month contractA global en...

Recruitment Genius: Sales and Account Manager - OTE £80,000+

£40000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - Kent - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - ne...

Recruitment Genius: Production Team Leader / Chargehand

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a Chargehand to join ...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project