Falklands sovereignty ‘not up for discussion' David Cameron says ahead of visit next week

18 February 2024, 12:42

David Cameron has said the islands' sovereignty is not up for discussion.
David Cameron has said the islands' sovereignty is not up for discussion. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

David Cameron has said the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands is ‘not up for discussion’ as he prepares to visit this week.

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The Foreign Secretary will visit the Falkland Islands to show they are a “valued part of the British family” in their first visit from a cabinet minister since 2016.

However, Lord Cameron has shot down any plans to discuss the sovereignty of the islands ahead of the trip.

It comes amid renewed calls from the Argentinian president Javier Milei, nicknamed ‘El Loco’, to discuss the future of the islands after he was elected last year.

One of Mr Milei’s election pledges was to gain sovereignty over the islands, as he has previously said Buenos Aires had “non-negotiable sovereignty” over them.

Downing Street, however, has maintained that the sovereignty of the islands is already “settled”.

Ahead of his visit, Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said: “The Falkland Islands are a valued part of the British family, and we are clear that as long as they want to remain part of the family, the issue of sovereignty will not be up for discussion.

"The Falkland Islanders should be proud of the modern, prosperous community they have built.

"The islands are a thriving economy, where as well as farming and fishing, there is a priority given to conservation and sustainability."

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The pair met for the first time last month.
The pair met for the first time last month. Picture: X

Lord Cameron and Mr Milei met for the first time last month, as the pair joined for talks at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

During the talks, the Argentinian president suggested a Hong Kong-style agreement over the islands, meaning the UK would have to hand sovereignty of the islands to Buenos Aires.

However, Lord Cameron and Mr Milei left having “agreed to disagree” following the ongoing dispute over the islands.

A spokesman for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said at the time: “On the Falkland Islands, the Foreign Secretary and President Milei said they would agree to disagree, and do so politely.”

Lord Cameron’s stop in the Falklands will also be followed by a visit to Paraguay, making him the first foreign secretary to visit the country.

It comes ahead of a summit for foreign ministers of the G20 countries, which will see Lord Cameron travel on to Brazil and New York.

In a 2013 referendum, the islanders voted overwhelmingly to retain their status as a UK overseas territory.