Falklanders vow to remain British despite new Argentina president claiming sovereignty over islands

23 November 2023, 18:41 | Updated: 23 November 2023, 18:43

Javier Milei has vowed that the Falklands are Argentina's
Javier Milei has vowed that the Falklands are Argentina's. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

The Falkland Islands have vowed to remain British despite the new Argentina president claiming sovereignty over the territory.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Javier Milei, a right-wing libertarian economist, who was elected as president of Argentina on Sunday night, said in a debate that Argentina should have control of the islands.

Argentina invaded the Falklands, a British Overseas Territory, in 1982. That sparked a military response from the UK, with over 900 people dying in the war that followed. The Falklands remained British.

The population of the Falklands, which are 300 miles off the coast of Argentina in the south Atlantic, voted overwhelmingly to remain British in a 2013 referendum.

Mark Pollard
Mark Pollard. Picture: Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly

Mark Pollard, of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly, said that the islands' were British - and this is non-negotiable.

"We, the democratically elected members are very clear that discussions on our sovereignty are non-negotiable. 

"Falkland Islanders are clear in their desire to remain as a British Overseas Territory and our commitment to being part of the UK family, living in freedom under the government of our choice."

Read More: Falkland's sovereignty 'not up for discussion' Britain warns after new Argentinian president vows to 'get them back'

Read more: The Falkland Islands still matter to Brits no matter what the new Argentinian president or his dead dog thinks

Javier Milei
Javier Milei. Picture: Alamy

He told MailOnline: "We exercised our right to self-determination ten years ago where 99.8 per cent of people voted to retain our status as a United Kingdom Overseas Territory in which there was a 92 per cent turnout.

"We urge the Government of Argentina and others to respect our wishes and our right to self-determination.

"The United Kingdom continues to support and protect our people’s inalienable right, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter."

The British government has also hit back at Mr Milei's comments on the Falklands after his election, with Rishi Sunak saying that the islands' sovereignty was "settled" a long time ago.

Argentina's foreign ministry then said that the country has a "permanent and unwavering objective" to take back the Falklands, and that the government "rejects" Mr Sunak's remark.

Mr Milei, 53, said in the debate: "What do I propose? Argentina's sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands is non-negotiable. The Malvinas are Argentine.

"Now we have to see how we are going to get them back. It is clear that the war option is not a solution.

The Belgrano
The Belgrano. Picture: Getty

"We had a war - that we lost - and now we have to make every effort to recover the islands through diplomatic channels."

Mr Sunak's official spokesman said: “This is a long-settled issue and there are no plans to revisit it. The position of the Falkland Islands was settled some time ago, and will not be changed.”

Previous president Alberto Fernandez called Britain's control over the islands an "anachronistic colonial situation".

In that context Mr Milei's position could be seen as relatively conciliatory. He even praised Margaret Thatcher, Britain's Conservative prime minister who launched the UK military response to Argentina's invasion.

Mrs Thatcher, still hated by many for ordering the navy to fire on the Belgrano warship, was described by Mr Milei as "one the great leaders in the history of humanity” during his campaign.

Wellwishers waving British flags as they bid farewell to troops sailing on QE2 as it departs for Falkland Islands
Wellwishers waving British flags as they bid farewell to troops sailing on QE2 as it departs for Falkland Islands. Picture: Getty

An advisor to Mr Milei has said that the Falklands could be gradually transferred to Argentina in a similar process to Hong Kong coming under Chinese rule.

But Diana Mondino also said that the will of the Falklanders themselves must be respected.

"In such a process we can’t leave out those people who live in the Islands, we must include the interests of people living in the Island," she said.

A statement on the Argentine government’s website says: "The recovery of these territories and the full exercise of its sovereignty, respecting the way of life of its inhabitants and following the principles of International Law, constitutes a permanent and irrevocable objective of the Argentine people."

Falklands veteran remembers conflict

Mr Milei gained 56 per cent of the vote, compared to Mr Massa’s 46 per cent - the widest victory margin in the country since it returned to democracy in 1983.

The newly elected president told his supporters on Sunday evening: "Today the reconstruction of Argentina begins. Today is a historic night for Argentina,”

Mr Milei pledged to make “drastic changes” to the country and promised to deal with rising inflation and poverty.

The country is currently experiencing extreme poverty alongside 143 per cent inflation.

Dismantling the Central Bank, halving the number of government ministries and pushing the dollarisation of the economy are among some of his pledges.

“We have monumental problems ahead: inflation, lack of work, and poverty,” he told his voters.

“The situation is critical and there is no place for tepid half-measures."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

JD Vance joked UK could become 'Islamist' under Labour

Trump's vice-president pick JD Vance joked UK could be 'first Islamist country to have nuclear weapons' under Labour

Britain's Prime Minister Keir Starmer hosts the first roundtable with regional UK mayors, along with Angela Rayner

Ministers pledge to give more powers to local areas, in 'devolution revolution'

Starmer has launched a defence review

Keir Starmer launches review of armed forces as he warns of 'dangerous and volatile world'

Annabel Croft and Graziano di Prima   at Strictly Come Dancing - The Live Tour. Utilita Arena. 18th January 2024.  Ref:LMK11-180124-001 Steve Bealing/Landmark Media

Strictly Come Dancing pro Graziano Di Prima 'flees the country' after being fired following claims of misconduct

Joe Biden has admitted that calling for Democrats to put Trump in a 'bullseye' was a mistake

Joe Biden admits it was a 'mistake' to urge Democrats to 'put Donald Trump in a bullseye' after assassination attempt

Jay Slater's mother Debbie Duncan is said to be 'demanding answers'

Jay Slater's mother 'demands answers' after human remains found just yards from teen's last known location

Trump has selected Vance as his running mate

Who is JD Vance, Donald Trump's pick for vice-president?

Donald Trump has selected JD Vance (right) as his running mate and would-be vice president

Donald Trump chooses senator JD Vance as running mate, as he is officially nominated as Republican candidate

Ralf Schumacher and David Schumacher at Hockenheimring on April 05, 2022

'I'm 100% behind you': Ralf Schumacher's son congratulates his father after he comes out as gay

David Lammy has called for a ceasefire on a trip to Israel

Foreign Secretary David Lammy reiterates call for Israel-Hamas ceasefire and hostage deal in Gaza

Hamza Alam

East Londoner who 'disguised himself as a librarian' while urging TikTok followers to kill Jewish people jailed for 4 years

The England fan is confident England can bring football home in the next four years.

England fan has ‘no regrets’ over doomed Euro ‘winners’ tattoo

Queen Camilla left in histerics as Jersey cows get frisky during royal visit while bemused King watches on

Queen Camilla left in hysterics as Jersey cows get frisky during royal visit while bemused King watches on

Home Secretary Yvette Cooper during a visit to Lewisham Police Station in south London.

Home Secretary to probe 'disgraceful' election intimidation, as Jo Cox's sister says UK politics 'not in a good place'

An FBI investigation discovered the influencer had forced women to work for her in poor conditions with no pay

Instagram influencer jailed for human trafficking and slavery

People shelter under umbrellas as the rain pounds down last week.

Return of the summer washout: UK braces for flooding and travel chaos as Met Office issues weather warnings