Reported in This Is Plymouth:
Britain will defend the Falkland Islands from Argentine aggression “come what may”, as long as the islanders want to be defended, a senior Conservative MP has vowed. Speaking in Plymouth last night James Arbuthnot, chairman of the Commons Defence Select Committee, denied claims by President Cristina Kirchner of Argentina that Britain was behaving as a colonial power; “If anything, that accusation can be levelled at her.”
Mr Arbuthnot was guest of honour at a dinner at the Royal Marines Barracks, Stonehouse, where Falklands War veterans gathered to commemorate the 30th anniversary this week of the landings at San Carlos Bay. A British Task Force, which had sailed south earlier in 1982 to reclaim the islands after an Argentine invasion, started to put troops ashore on May 21.
General Thompson said it was important to celebrate the anniversary because that kept the islands in the public eye. In 1982 many of the public did not know anything about the Falklands: “The Argentinians are getting a bit difficult but I think the islands are pretty safe. The garrison on the islands is much bigger than it was in 1982, and our forces are now very experienced.”
The Falkland Islands have been claimed by Britain since 1765, although Spain staked a claim the following year. Argentina believes that it inherited the Spanish claim on its independence in 1816, ignoring the fact that Spain maintained its own claim till 1863. British forces ejected a trespassing garrison from Buenos Aires in January 1833. Argentina tried again in 1982 leading to the short Falklands War.
The Falkland Islanders now have a right to determine their own future under the United Nations. Todate they have chosen to remain a British Overseas Territory.