Cameron digs in over Falklands as oil revives former tension

PM tells Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner that islands' sovereignty is not up for discussion

David Cameron is to issue a strong warning that he will never negotiate over the sovereignty of the Falklands.

A tense stand-off between the Prime Minister and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the President of Argentina, is expected when they hold a brief meeting during the G20 summit in Toronto, Canada, which ends today.

Argentina is using every opportunity at international meetings to press its claim to the Falklands after the British company Rockhopper announced this month there are "positive signs" of oil being discovered in the waters around the South Atlantic islands. Last Thursday, Argentina persuaded a United Nations committee to call for talks on the islands' future.

Mr Cameron will deliver a tough "hands off" message to Mrs Kirchner in the hope of stopping in its tracks the latest diplomatic offensive by her country. "He will make it very clear that our position on the Falklands has not changed and will not change," one British source said yesterday. "Our stance remains as robust as ever."

The Prime Minister will tell the Argentinian President that the drilling for oil is an entirely legitimate activity and the islanders have every right to develop their economy. It is not yet clear if the likely oil resources will be a commercially viable proposition.

Since British forces expelled the Argentinians in the 1982 war after they invaded the Falklands, successive governments have been adamant that sovereignty is not up for discussion unless the islanders want it to be.

British officials will counter the new offensive by Argentina by saying the status of the islands should not be changed without the residents' consent, and that the inhabitants want them to remain under British control. They will argue that Britain's claim is legally watertight, as it is based on the principle of self-determination.

There were signs of international pressure building on Britain in March, when Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, encouraged talks between London and Buenos Aires and a State Department official referred to the islands as the Malvinas. Formally, the US recognises British "administration" of the Falklands, and the Foreign Office does not expect Washington's approach to change.

The Falklands were not on the agenda when Mr Cameron met President Barack Obama before the two-day G20 summit got under way yesterday with a working dinner in Toronto.

The G8 conference in Deerhurst, north of Toronto, arranged just ahead of the G20, ended yesterday without any renewed commitment to the group's landmark pledge at its 2005 summit in Gleneagles to double annual aid to the world's poorest nations to $50bn by this year.

The meeting approved a $5bn initiative over five years to tackle maternal and child deaths in developing nations, and repeated the G8's support for the Millennium Development Goals, set by the UN and due to be delivered by 2015. Although the G8's communiqué pledged to "reaffirm our commitments" on aid, the absence of a specific reference to the Gleneagles targets angered aid agencies, who say the goal will be missed by between $10bn and $20bn and has now been quietly buried.

Despite Russia's initial reservations, Mr Cameron pushed for and secured a declaration that Iran should respect the rule of law amid a crackdown on opposition supporters that began when government forces crushed 2009 post-election protests. "We expect the government of Iran to respect the rule of law and freedom of expression as outlined in the international parties to which Iran is a party," the G8 said.

On Friday night, Mr Cameron discussed Iran at his first talks with President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia, one of several "get to know you" meetings the Prime Minister held with other world leaders during the G8 summit. Downing Street said a "constructive" 45-minute meeting with President Medvedev "represented the first step towards a renewed relationship between UK and Russia".

A spokesman said: "The Prime Minister made clear that there were still points of disagreement between the UK and Russia, and he specifically raised the death of Alexander Litvinenko. But he also stressed that the UK and Russia should work more closely together to build a better relationship focused around the economy, climate change and academic co-operation."

The G8 "deeply regretted" the loss of life that occurred when Israeli commandos raided an aid flotilla off Gaza in May, killing nine pro-Palestinian activists, and welcomed Israel's decision to set up an independent public commission to investigate the incident. The summit also welcomed Israel's decision to relax parts of its blockade on Hamas-controlled Gaza, saying "current arrangements are not sustainable and must be changed".

The group also backed South Korea, which is pushing for a UN Security Council resolution against North Korea over the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan, in which 46 sailors died.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
One Direction's Zayn Malik gazes at a bouquet of flowers in the 'Night Changes' music video
people
News
people
News
'Free the Nipple' film screening after party with We Are The XX, New York, America - 04 Feb 2014
news
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn