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UK's David Cameron to visit Falkland Islands

February 18, 2024

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron called the Falkland Islands part of "the British family." Argentinian President Javier Milei wants to reopen talks over the sovereignty of the islands.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron
British Foreign Secretary David Cameron is to visit the Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory that is disputed by ArgentinaImage: Tayfun Salci/Zuma/IMAGO

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron is set to visit the Falkland Islands this week as part of a tour of South America, the British government said on Sunday.

The trip comes after Argentina's recently elected president, Javier Milei, renewed calls for talks for the islands to come under Argentine sovereignty.

Cameron is also scheduled to visit Paraguay this week, which will make him the first British Secretary to do so. He will then attend a foreign ministers' meeting of the G20 bloc of countries in Brazil.

Why is David Cameron visiting the Falkland Islands?

Cameron said that he wanted to underscore the fact that the archipelago is part of "the British family."

"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," he said.

The foreign office said that Cameron would pay his respects to British soldiers who died in a 1982 war with Argentina and thank personnel currently stationed on the islands.

He will also "reiterate the UK's commitment to uphold the islanders' right of self-determination" and "see their work to build a thriving community and protect their natural environment," according to the ministry.

What is Argentina's claim to the Falkland Islands?

Argentina has long claimed the Falkland Islands, which it knows as the Malvinas. They lie about 300 miles (480 kilometers) east of Patagonia in the Atlantic Ocean.

Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982, leading to a war that lasted over two months and that the UK won.

In 2013, Falkland Island residents voted overwhelmingly to remain under UK sovereignty, with only three out of 1,516 voters calling for the islands to become part of Argentina.

Argentina argues that Britain illegally took the islands in 1833. The UK says that its territorial claim dates to 1765.

sdi/lo (AP, Reuters, AFP)