Commenting on the recent visit by his Argentine counterpart, Hector Timerman, who held meetings in London, the Foreign Secretary added; “Britain is a country which supports the right of people to determine their own future. There should never be reward for bullying or threatening behaviour in international affairs – just as there never should be in our personal lives. To compare the islands to settlers in the West Bank, which is an occupied land, is absolutely ridiculous. I absolutely reject that comparison. There are families in the Falklands who are in their ninth generation. The Falklands have been there longer than Argentina has had its current boundaries or existed in its current form.”
Britain first claimed the South Atlantic archipelago in 1765 and the south seas whaling industry grew up around the Islands in the 1780’s. Spain maintained a small penal colony on East Falkland until 1811 but recognised British sovereignty in 1863. Argentina believes it inherited any Spanish rights when it broke free of the Spanish Crown in 1816. Britain has never given up its claim to sovereignty since 1765 and has ejected Argentine forces on two occasions – 1833 and 1982.
The Falkland Islanders are due to vote on their status in a referendum next month.