LONDON — British Prime Minister David Cameron has rejected a call by Argentina’s president for Britain to give control of the Falkland Islands to Argentina. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner wrote an open letter to the British leader accusing his country of colonialism.
More than 30 years have passed since Britain and Argentina fought a 10-week war over the Falkland Islands, a British overseas territory in the southwest Atlantic Ocean, but their dispute continues.
In an open letter published as an advertisement in two British newspapers, Fernandez accused Britain of having “forcibly stripped” the islands from Argentina in a “blatant exercise” of 19th century colonialism. She called for Britain to begin discussions over the islands’ sovereignty and said Britain had breached U.N. resolutions urging a negotiated resolution.
A spokesperson for Cameron, though, said he would “do everything” to protect the interests of the islanders.
Falkland Islands government representative in London, Suki Cameron, said that Falkland islanders do not want to be part of Argentina.
“If they think that by writing letters like this it is going to bring us to talk to them, they have another thing coming,” she said.
The islanders are due to vote in a March referendum on whether they want to remain part of Britain’s self-governing overseas territories. They are expected to vote in favor of remaining part of Britain.
The Falkland Islands government called for the referendum. The vote has been rejected by Argentina, which says it considers the few thousand people living on the islands as an “implanted British population."
Suki Cameron said the referendum will show the world how the islanders feel about their political status.
“It is important to show that we are an overseas territory by choice,” she said.
Argentina invaded the remote South Atlantic islands, which it calls the Malvinas, in 1982, but withdrew after 74 days. About 650 Argentinean and 255 British military personnel died in the conflict.