Friday, 15 June 2012

The Falkland Islands

I was not even two years old when Argentina, then under a military dictatorship, invaded the Falkland Islands.  Today has marked the 30th anniversary of the end of that brief conflict, which ended with the  islands remaining under British rule.  As such, I have no understanding of how things were at the time even in the UK, or controversies such as the sinking of the Belgrano.

The anniversary has seen tensions between Britain and Argentina rise.  It's sad to me, but also somewhat annoying.  Today, the Argentinian president has demanded that Britain enter negotiations over the island's sovereignity:

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has demanded that Britain enter negotiations over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.
President Fernandez was addressing the UN Committee on Decolonisation on the 30th anniversary of the UK territory's liberation from Argentine occupation.
She said history and geography backed Argentina's claim. But an islander told the committee Argentina was "bullying".
 I don't know to what extent Kirchner was grandstanding for her domestic public and to what extent she hopes that demand to be answered.  But I included that last line for a reason.  The Falkland Islanders are fiercely pro-British, and surely they have the right to self determination?  To say that the islands should be transferred to Argentina is to reject this fact, and as a political liberal I find that abhorrent.

In writing this, I've found that there will be a referendum in the Falklands on this issue, to be held next year.
The islands' government made the announcement ahead of the anniversary 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.
 Of course, it's easy for Dave to say that since he expects the result to be pro-British, but it's still the right thing to say.

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