Argentina's president urges Falklands talks with Britain

Thu Jan 3, 2013 1:00pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain rejected calls on Thursday from Argentine President Cristina Fernandez for talks over the disputed Falkland Islands after she wrote an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron.

Britain and Argentina fought a 10-week war in 1982 over the remote South Atlantic islands, which are part of Britain's self-governing overseas territories and are known in Argentina as Las Malvinas.

Fernandez has marked the 30th anniversary of the conflict with a sustained diplomatic campaign to assert Argentina's sovereignty claim, whose significance has been raised by oil exploration in the waters around the islands.

In her letter, published in British newspapers, Fernandez accused Britain of breaching United Nations resolutions urging the two countries to negotiate a solution to the dispute.

"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," Fernandez wrote.

Cameron rejected her call for negotiations, sticking to London's stance that the approximately 3,000 people of the Falkland Islands had chosen to be British.

"The future of the Falkland Islands should be determined by the Falkland Islanders themselves," he said. "Whenever they have been asked their opinion they have said they want to maintain their current status with the United Kingdom."

The islanders are expected to vote overwhelmingly in favor of the existing arrangement in a referendum this year.

"I hope the president of Argentina will listen to that referendum and recognize it is for the Falkland Islanders to choose their future," Cameron said.   Continued...

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner speaks during celebrations of the Day of Democracy and International Human Rights Day outside the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires December 9, 2012. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci