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Britain 'stands firmly' with Falkland Islands as minister pays visit in fresh warning to Argentina's eccentric president
30 November 2023, 18:05
Britain is showing it stands by the Falklands after Argentina's president suggested the time had come to "get them back".
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Foreign office minister David Rutley arrived in the islands' capital Stanley on Thursday to show UK support for their right to self-determination.
And he issued another warning to Javier Milei, the live wire new president of Argentina.
"I will reiterate that the UK stands firmly behind the Falkland Islanders' rights of self-determination, as an important part of the British family," Rutley said, as he was due to meet the governor, Alison Blake, and members of its legislative assembly.
"The Falkland Islands has a flourishing economy and is making great strides in the fight against climate change, which I look forward to learning about first-hand."
Milei has already described Argentina's claimed sovereignty over the islands, which is home to some 3,500 people, as "non-negotiable".
It is a frequently discussed topic in the country, which believes it has a right to govern the territory despite a 2013 referendum that saw almost every voter support staying as a British Overseas Territory.
Britain and Argentina lost hundreds of lives after the latter, which is about 300 miles away, invaded under its previous military junta.
But while Buenos Aires has resolved to pursue more diplomatic means, the rhetoric over the islands remains strong.
That is despite Milei, a right winger and eccentric character who asks his pet dogs for policy advice, having stated he is a fan of the victorious prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
He has suggested the UK could hand over the Falklands in the same way it gave back Hong Kong to China in 1997.
However, he has accepted the islanders' views "cannot be ignored".
Downing Street has already said the Falklands issue "was settled decisively some time ago".