'The Falkland Islands are British': James Cleverly hits back as Argentina pushes to take over, 41 years after failed invasion

3 March 2023, 14:26 | Updated: 3 March 2023, 14:32

James Cleverly said the Falklands were British
James Cleverly said the Falklands were British. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

James Cleverly has said that the Falkland Islands are British, after Argentina pulled out of a pact that said both countries would agree to disagree on the country's sovereignty.

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Foreign Secretary Mr Cleverly reaffirmed the Atlantic islands' status as a British overseas territory, in line with the residents' own wishes.

The islands, 300 miles off the coast of South America, were the subject of a bloody war in 1982 when Britain repelled an invasion by Argentinian forces.

Both governments signed an agreement in 2016 that promised "to improve co-operation on South Atlantic issues of mutual interests", while accepting that the other claimed sovereignty over the islands.

View of Gypsy Cove near Port Stanley on the Falkland Islands
View of Gypsy Cove near Port Stanley on the Falkland Islands. Picture: Getty

But this week Argentina tore up the co-operation agreement and pushed for fresh talks on the sovereignty of the islands, which they call Las Malvinas.

The country's foreign minister Santiago Cafiero told Mr Cleverly about the change at the G20 summit.

Read more: Gleeful Argentinians chant 'f*** the English' in Falklands War chant after World Cup semi-final victory

Mr Cleverly said after the meeting: "The Falkland Islands are British. Islanders have the right to decide their own future - they have chosen to remain a self-governing UK Overseas Territory."

Americas minister David Rutley said it was "a disappointing decision" after he had had a "constructive visit" to Buenos Aires.

Falklands veteran remembers effort on eve of 40th anniversary

"Argentina has chosen to step away from an agreement that has brought comfort to the families of those who died in the 1982 conflict," he said.

"Argentina, the UK and the Falklands all benefited from this agreement."

Read more: Falkland Islands are British, James Cleverly says, as Argentina pushes for sovereignty 41 years after failed invasion

Read more: Prince Andrew deletes 'HRH' Falklands war post from ex-wife's Instagram

"Argentina has chosen to step away from an agreement that has brought comfort to the families of those who died in the 1982 conflict," he said.

Some 255 British servicepeople and 649 Argentinian military personnel died in the Falklands. Three islanders also died.

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