Cleverly insists ‘Falklands are British’ as Argentina ends co-operation deal

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UK ministers have expressed disappointment at Argentina’s decision to tear up a co-operation agreement and push for fresh talks on the sovereignty of the Falklands.

Argentinian foreign minister Santiago Cafiero informed James Cleverly about the decision when the pair met in the margins of a G20 summit in India.

Mr Cleverly insisted “the Falkland Islands are British”, while minister for the Americas David Rutley said he was disappointed that Buenos Aires had “chosen to step away from an agreement that has brought comfort” to the families of those killed in the 1982 war.

Mr Cafiero said the Argentine government was ending the 2016 agreement which pledged “to improve co-operation on South Atlantic issues of mutual interests” and called for talks on the sovereignty of the islands.

Following the pair’s meeting at the G20 in India, Mr Cleverly said: “The Falkland Islands are British. Islanders have the right to decide their own future – they have chosen to remain a self-governing UK Overseas Territory.”

Mr Rutley said it was “a disappointing decision” after he had had a “constructive visit” to Buenos Aires.

“Argentina has chosen to step away from an agreement that has brought comfort to the families of those who died in the 1982 conflict,” he said.

“Argentina, the UK and the Falklands all benefited from this agreement.”

Argentina has long claimed sovereignty over the islands it calls Las Malvinas, which were the subject of a bloody conflict in 1982 which claimed the lives of 255 British servicemen, three islanders and 649 Argentine personnel.

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