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Falkland Islands Hold Referendum on Sovereignty

Residents of the Falkland Islands off the southern coast of Argentina hold a referendum Sunday and Monday on whether to remain a British territory.

The nearly 1,700 registered voters on the small archipelago will be given the opportunity to cast a secret "yes" or "no" ballot on the question, "Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?"

Argentina claims Britain stole the islands from them and does not recognize the legality of the referendum. The two countries went to war over the islands - called the Malvinas in Argentina - in 1982 after oil resources were discovered.



If the referendum favors British claims, Falkland officials plan to use it to pursue the international community to back them against claims of sovereignty by Argentina.

Washington, although a close ally of Britain, has refused to take sides in the issue.

Results of the vote will be announced Monday evening.

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