‘Hands off Falkland islands’ declares newspaper

The Sun newspaper has published a full-page advert in an Argentinian paper warning the country’s president to keep her “hands off” the Falkland Islands.

It follows an open letter from Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, published as an advert in The Guardian and reported in other UK papers, in which she called for the islands to come under Argentine sovereignty.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said the residents of the Falklands must decide their own future, with a referendum on the islands’ political status to be held in March.

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The Sun’s response to Ms Kirchner – printed in English language paper the Buenos Aires Herald – refers to the 649 Argentine and 255 British military personnel killed in the invasion of the islands 31 years ago.

The advert – printed in Spanish and English – claims Argentina’s invasion was in “direct conflict” with the UN principle of self-determination.

It describes claims that Argentina was stripped of the islands as “unfounded” and points out that British sovereignty dates back to 1765.

The advert concludes: “The islands have never been governed by or formed part of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Argentina.

“Until the people of the Falkland Islands choose to become Argentinian, they remain resolutely British.

“In the name of our millions of readers and to put it another way: ‘HANDS OFF!’”

David Cameron yesterday rebuffed claims by Ms Kirchner that Britain is a colonial power and that the islands should be handed over.

Mr Cameron told her she should “listen” to the result of a referendum to be held on the island, and if the people chose to remain British they would have his “100 per cent” backing.

“The future of the Falkland Islands should be determined by the Falkland Islanders themselves, the people who live there,” he said.

“Whenever they have been asked their opinion, they say they want to maintain their current status with the United Kingdom.”