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Falkland Islanders

Volume 541: debated on Tuesday 28 February 2012

The Government support the Falkland Islanders’ right to self-determination. That support takes many forms, from the military deterrent on the islands to the work of our diplomatic network to promote their rights in the region and more widely. We do all that with the full endorsement of the Falkland Islands Government.

What discussions have taken place with Argentina to encourage it to rejoin the south Atlantic fisheries commission, which was set up in 1990 to facilitate action on conservation issues of mutual concern around the Falkland Islands?

It is a source of regret to us that the many fruitful negotiations between the United Kingdom and Argentina in the 1990s on this topic were effectively suspended in 2007, when the Argentines withdrew their co-operation. We want to work closely, co-operatively and in a friendly spirit with Argentina on a range of issues, including this one. It is a source of regret to us that that has not been possible in recent years.

The whole House and, indeed, the country will be outraged at reports that two British cruise liners, the Adonia and the Star Princess, were refused entry to a port in southern Argentina. What representations have the Government made to the Argentine authorities and to the international maritime authorities about this completely unjustified action?

We make frequent representations to the Argentines and to many other countries in south America. It is a source of sadness and frustration to us that people who are on holiday and who want to further relations between ourselves and Argentina at a people-to-people level are not able to do so. We enter the relationship with Argentina in a spirit of friendship and it is a source of sadness to us that it does not always do the same.