Falkland islanders to vote on UK rule
THE Falkland Islands is to hold a referendum next year on its status as a British territory in an effort to fend off aggressive Argentine claims.
The islands' legislative assembly said yesterday that it would authorise a poll of the more than 3,000 residents, the first in its history, to demonstrate they remain in support of British ties. The announcement was made as islanders prepared to commemorate tomorrow the 30th anniversary of the unconditional surrender of the Argentine invasion force.
British Prime Minister David Cameron applauded the ann- ouncement from Port Stanley, claiming it would vindicate British support for the islands.
"Thirty years ago they made clear that they wanted to stay British. That's why British forces bravely liberated the island from Argentine invaders," he said. "Now the Argentine government wants to put that choice in doubt again, by shouting down the islanders' ability to speak for themselves and punishing them for exercising their own free choice."
A Falkland Islands spokes- man said the vote would reinforce the message that residents had the right to reject the Argentine claims. He said only a few residents, "probably those who misread the question", were expected to vote against continued ties to Britain. (© Daily Telegraph, London)