The Guardian reports:
David Cameron moved to bolster international diplomatic support for British sovereignty of the Falkland Islands when it was announced that the islanders will hold a referendum on their political status next year.
Cameron accused the Argentinian government of trying to shout down the islanders’ voices and said the poll would be overseen by international observers. There has been no public affirmation of the Falklands’ links with Britain since an opinion poll in 1986.
This is a good idea. The people of the Falklands are the ones who should determine their future. The reality is that the UK would be quite happy for the Falklands to give up British sovereignty, if that is what the locals wanted. But for so long as the islanders wish to be a democratic territory of the UK, then they will protect and defend their right to self-determination.
The chairman of the Falkland Islands legislative assembly, Gavin Short, said the referendum had not been imposed by the British. “I have no doubt that the people of the Falklands wish for the islands to remain a self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom. We certainly have no desire to be ruled by the government in Buenos Aires, a fact that is immediately obvious to anyone who has visited the islands and heard our views. But we are aware that not everyone is able to come to these beautiful islands and to see this reality for themselves,” he said.
The referendum would be organised by the Falkland Islands government and take place in the first half of 2013, Short said. “We will invite independent, international observers to observe the process and verify its outcome. Exact timings, the specific wording of the question, and other details will be announced in the coming weeks.
Argentina would be well advised to stop trying to bully their way into the islands. It won’t work.