Argentina rejects Falklands referendum as illegal
Argentina rejected as illegal Friday a referendum that is to be held among Falkland islanders on the status of the disputed South Atlantic archipelago.
"The referendum is illegal because the United Nations declared it to be a nation implanted since 1833 when London invaded and expelled the Argentine inhabitants," Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said on C5N television.
Timerman's comments come amid an escalating war of words some 40 days before Falkland Island residents go to the polls March 10-11 to say whether they want the archipelago to remain a British overseas territory.
On Thursday, Timerman refused an offer by British Foreign Secretary William Hague to meet with Falkland Islands officials during a visit to London next week.
A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said in London Friday that Britain was "disappointed" by the Argentine response.
Falkland Islanders had said in a statement they would tell Timerman that they want to be "left in peace" by Argentina, which calls the archipelago Las Malvinas and claims it is occupied Argentinian territory.
In his comments to C5N television, Timerman said he still planned to travel to London on Sunday.
But he accused Britain of wanting "a military base in the Falklands with projection into Antarctica," and charged that the archipelago was "the most militarized territory in the world with one soldier for every three inhabitants."
"There is no country in the world that recognizes British rights in the Malvinas," he said.
He said the United Nations had issued 40 resolutions calling on Buenos Aires and London to negotiate over the sovereignty of the Falklands, but Britain has opposed that.
The two countries went to war over the islands in 1982 after Argentine forces invaded the islands. It ended 74 days later with British forces back in control after fighting that left 649 Argentines and 255 British dead.
© 2013 AFP