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Falklanders tell neighbour Argentina stop making claims over their islands

Falklanders tell neighbour  Argentina stop making claims over their islands

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Members of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly are making a call for neighbouring country, Argentina, to stop claiming sovereignty over their islands, 30 years after the Falklands war in 1982.{{more}}

Roger Edwards, a member of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly along with Sharon Halford and Karl Burrows, Deputy High Commissioner to St Vincent and the Grenadines, visited this country on a two-day visit, hoping to lobby support for the Falkland Islands.

In a visit to SEARCHLIGHT last Thursday, February 9, Edwards said that 30 years after British forces won the war, Argentina is still claiming the Falkland Islands.

The Falkland Islands have a population of 3,000 and occupy a land mass the size of Jamaica. They are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located over 250 nautical miles east of the coast of mainland South America. They are self-governing internally and also economically self sufficient.

The United Kingdom looks after their foreign affairs and defense. Even though they are British, Edwards said, they consider themselves Falkland islanders.

Edwards explained that they have a robust economy with a positive outlook.

“Our economy is based on fishing. We have a 200 mile conservation zone around the Falkland Islands and we sell licenses to people to fish these waters,” Edwards said.

He also stated that over 60,000 to 80,000 cruise ship passengers come to their Islands every year. “…Tax is about the second largest source of revenue. We have a very solid economy; a positive internal business community and our problem is with our aggressive neighbour, Argentina,” Edwards said.

Making a call for Argentina to leave their islands alone, Sharon Halford told SEARCHLIGHT that Argentina is going around giving incorrect information to different countries.

“We are here to try to correct some of that and we are asking people to support our right to self determination because we should be able to exercise our right and live how we choose,” Halford stated.

According to Halford, people may not be aware that after the war, Argentina wrote into their constitution, that the Falkland Islands belong to them.

“They are not telling people this when they ask questions. Our islands do not belong to Argentina…,” Halford declared.

She said Argentina is also complaining because Prince William is presently in the Falkland Islands.

“Why shouldn’t he be? He is in the military and as heir to the throne, they are unlikely to send him to Afghanistan. He is doing search and rescue missions,” she explained.

Halford, however, pointed out that in 1999, they attempted to forge peace talks with their “aggressive neighbours” [Argentina] with the signing of several agreements on oil, fisheries conservation, fisheries research and communication.

“All, bar one of these agreements they have walked away from. They have given up on oil, but now that we are drilling again, they are complaining,” Halford added.

“It begs the question, how can you work with somebody who will not adhere to any written agreement? Please be careful what you are signing up to with Argentina. They don’t have a very good track record of adhering to agreements.

“Every time we breathe, they complain about it. All we ask is to be left alone and continue our lives in the manner we choose to live. We want to be able to exercise our right of self-determination like other countries and one would expect with Argentina considering themselves a democratic government, they should respect our rights…,” Halford stated.

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