Britain’s David Cameron visits the Falkland Islands as Argentina renews its sovereignty claim

  • February 18, 2024

LONDON — Foreign Secretary David Cameron will visit the Falkland Islands this week to show they are a “valued part of the British family,” the U.K. government said Sunday. Britain’s top diplomat is making the trip amid renewed calls by Argentina for negotiations over the contested South Atlantic archipelago.

The Foreign Office said Cameron will meet Falklands government officials, pay his respects to war dead and visit some of the islands’ 3,500 people and 1 million penguins.

He’s the first British Cabinet minister since 2016 to visit the Falklands, over which Britain and Argentina fought a brief war in 1982.

Argentina’s recently elected new president, Javier Milei, has called for the islands – known as the Islas Malvinas in Argentina — to be handed over to Buenos Aires. Argentina has long claimed sovereignty over the islands, which lie about 300 miles (480 kilometers) from South America and 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometers) from Britain.

Argentina argues that the islands were illegally taken from it in 1833. Britain, which says its territorial claim dates to 1765, sent a warship to the islands in 1833 to expel Argentine forces who had sought to establish sovereignty over the territory.

Argentina invaded the islands in 1982, triggering a two-month war, won by Britain, that killed 649 Argentine troops, 255 British servicemen and three islanders.

Islanders voted overwhelmingly in a 2013 referendum to remain a British Overseas Territory.

“The Falkland Islands are a valued part of the British family, and we are clear that as long as they want to remain part of the family, the issue of sovereignty will not be up for discussion,” Cameron said.

Cameron also plans to visit Paraguay this week – the first British foreign secretary to do so — and to attend a Group of 20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Brazil on Wednesday, before traveling to the United Nations in New York to mark the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

#Britains #David #Cameron #visits #Falkland #Islands #Argentina #renews #sovereignty #claim