British newspaper takes out ad in Argentina warning ‘Hands off the Falklands’
A BRITISH tabloid newspaper has published a full-page advert in an Argentinian paper warning the country's president to keep her "hands off" the Falkland Islands.
It follows an open letter from Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, published as an advert in the Guardian and reported in other UK papers, in which she called for the islands to come under Argentine sovereignty.
Prime Minister David Cameron has said the residents of the Falklands must decide their own future, with a referendum on the islands' political status to be held in March.
The Sun's response to Ms Kirchner - printed in English-language paper the Buenos Aires Herald - refers to the 649 Argentine and 255 British military personnel killed in the invasion of the islands 31 years ago.
The advert - printed in Spanish and English - claims Argentina's invasion was in "direct conflict" with the UN principle of self-determination.
It describes claims that Argentina was stripped of the islands as "unfounded" and points out that British sovereignty dates back to 1765.
The advert concludes: "The islands have never been governed by or formed part of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Argentina.
"Until the people of the Falkland Islands choose to become Argentinian, they remain resolutely British.
"In the name of our millions of readers and to put it another way: 'HANDS OFF!'"
David Cameron yesterday rebuffed claims by Ms Kirchner that Britain is a colonial power and that the islands should be handed over.
Mr Cameron told her she should "listen" to the result of a referendum to be held on the island, and if the people chose to remain British they would have his "100%" backing.
"The future of the Falkland Islands should be determined by the Falkland Islanders themselves, the people who live there," he said.
"Whenever they have been asked their opinion, they say they want to maintain their current status with the United Kingdom.
"They're holding a referendum this year and I hope the president of Argentina will listen to that referendum and recognise it is for the Falkland Islanders to choose their future, and as long as they choose to stay with the United Kingdom they have my 100% backing."
Mr Cameron, on a visit to Preston, responded to questions on the islands after the row over their future was reignited by the letter written by the president of Argentina.
The letter said Argentina was forcibly stripped of the Malvinas - the Argentinian name for the islands - in "a blatant exercise of 19th century colonialism".
The 59-year-old president, who made several calls for the return of the islands during last year's 30th anniversary of the two countries going to war, urged the Prime Minister to abide by United Nations resolutions she says back the Argentinian cause.
"One hundred and eighty years ago on the same date, January 3rd, in a blatant exercise of 19th century colonialism, Argentina was forcibly stripped of the Malvinas Islands, which are situated 14,000km (8,700 miles) away from London," she said in the letter, copied to United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon.
"The Argentines on the islands were expelled by the Royal Navy and the United Kingdom subsequently began a population implantation process similar to that applied to other territories under colonial rule.
"Since then, Britain, the colonial power, has refused to return the territories to the Argentine Republic, thus preventing it from restoring its territorial integrity.
"The question of the Malvinas Islands is also a cause embraced by Latin America and by a vast majority of peoples and governments around the world that reject colonialism."
Mr Cameron and Ms de Kirchner clashed over the Falklands when the pair came face to face at the G20 summit in Mexico last June.
He rejected her demand for negotiations over the sovereignty of the islands and told her to respect the result of a referendum, when the Falklanders will vote on whether they wish to retain their ties with Britain.
In December Argentina protested at Britain's decision to name a vast swathe of Antarctica Queen Elizabeth Land, with its foreign ministry handing a formal protest note to British ambassador John Freeman in Buenos Aires.
The area, which makes up around a third of the British Antarctic Territory, is also claimed by the South American country.
Ms de Kirchner's letter continued: "In 1960, the United Nations proclaimed the necessity of 'bringing to an end colonialism in all its forms and manifestations'.
"In 1965, the General Assembly adopted, with no votes against (not even by the United Kingdom), a resolution considering the Malvinas Islands a colonial case and inviting the two countries to negotiate a solution to the sovereignty dispute between them.
"This was followed by many other resolutions to that effect.
"In the name of the Argentine people, I reiterate our invitation for us to abide by the resolutions of the United Nations."