Cameron tells new Argentine leader that Falklands will stay British

21st January 2016, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron met Argentina's new President Mauricio Macri for the first time Thursday and told him the Falkland Islands would remain under British rule, Downing Street said.

Macri's fiery predecessor Cristina Kirchner made the return of the islands in the South Atlantic a central theme of her presidency and clashed with Cameron over the issue.

A spokesman for Cameron's office said that after the leaders met at the World Economic Forum in Davos, "both agreed that there was an opportunity to embark on a new chapter in relations between our two countries".

The Falklands were discussed, the spokesman said, but "the Prime Minister was clear that our position remained the same and that the recent referendum was absolutely clear on the islanders' wish to remain British."

In 2013, almost 100 percent of the islands' residents voted in favour of remaining under British rule.

Argentina claims it inherited the remote archipelago from Spain when it gained independence, while Britain says it has historically ruled the islands and that their residents should have the right to self-determination.

Britain and Argentina fought a bloody war over the islands in 1982 after Argentine troops invaded and then prime minister Margaret Thatcher sent a naval task force.

The conflict claimed the lives of 649 Argentine soldiers, 255 British soldiers and three islanders.

The tensions between Cameron and Kirchner over the issue came to a head at a G20 summit in 2012 after Kirchner tried to thrust a package of papers relating to the disputed islands at Cameron and he refused to take it.

gj/jm


© 2016 AFP

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