David Cameron today called on Argentina to respect the wishes of Falkland islanders to remain British.
The islanders voted overwhelmingly to remain a British overseas territory, with 99.8 per cent declaring themselves in favour during a two-day referendum in the capital Port Stanley.
A total of 1,517 valid votes were cast, a turnout of 92 per cent of the islanders eligible to vote.
In a clear message of defiance to the Argentine government, 1,513 voted to remain under British rule, with just three voting against the referendum question “Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?”
The Prime Minister said the vote was the “clearest possible result there could be”.
He said Britain would always be there to defend the islands.
Mr Cameron said it sent a clear message to Argentina. “They should take careful note of this result,” said the Prime Minister.
“The Falkland islanders couldn’t have spoken more clearly. They want to remain British and that view should be respected by everybody, including by Argentina.” The Argentine government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has made clear it does not recognise the referendum, insisting it has no legal validity.
However Mr Cameron insisted that the islanders were entitled to the right to self-determination.
“It is the clearest possible result there could be,” he said.
“The Falkland Islands may be thousands of miles away but they are British through and through and that is how they want to stay. People should know we will always be there to defend them.
“The Falkland Islanders have spoken so clearly about their future and now other countries right across the world, I hope, will respect and revere this very, very clear result.”