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Falkland Islands Hold Referendum on Sovereignty

A Falkland Islander gestures as he casts his vote at the Town Hall polling station in Stanley, Mar. 10, 2013.
Residents of the Falkland Islands off the southern coast of Argentina are holding a referendum on whether to remain a British territory.

The nearly 1,700 registered voters on the small archipelago are voting "yes" or "no" 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 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, which ends Monday, favors British claims, Falkland officials plan to use it to pursue the international community to back them against claims of sovereignty by Argentina.

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

Results of the vote will be announced Monday evening.