Prime Minister David Cameron attacked Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s stance on the Falkland Islands, saying it’s “a pity” her government isn’t willing to seek better relations with Britain.
The two countries went to war in 1982 after Argentine forces invaded the South Atlantic archipelago. Tensions have heightened this year, with Argentina protesting the U.K.’s deployment of a modern warship to the region. The Falkland islanders will hold a referendum next year on their allegiance to Britain, in an effort to show Argentina they’re happy with the status quo.
“There is no justification for any country to try and deny you the right to democracy and self-determination,” Cameron said in a Christmas message to the islanders today that was released by his office in London. “Nor to make attempts to isolate you, block your trade and undermine your legitimate fisheries, hydrocarbons and tourism industries.”
Cameron said while he wants to work with Argentina on a wide range of issues, he won’t “stand by” and allow Falkland Islanders’ rights to be ignored.
A total of 255 British military personnel were killed while 649 Argentine lives were lost in the conflict over the islands, which Argentina calls the Malvinas. Britain has since reinforced its armed forces on the islands, which have a population of about 2,500 people.
The U.K. announced today that Colin Roberts, a diplomat, will become the new governor of the Falkland Islands, taking up his post in 2014.