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Falkland Islands: Sovereignty

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 12th December 2011.

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Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Conservative, New Forest East

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has made representations to the Government of Argentina in response to its (a) recent reassertion of that country's claim to sovereignty over the Falkland Islands and (b) interference with fishing vessels in the seas surrounding the Falkland Islands.

Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The UK Government have no doubt about their sovereignty over the Falkland Islands. There can be no negotiations on sovereignty unless or until the Falkland Islanders so wish. The fundamental principle and right of self determination, as set out in the United Nations Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, underlies this position. We have made this position clear both directly to the Argentine Government and at international forums.

The UK Government have repeatedly protested against Argentine Presidential Decree 256, which has purportedly been the basis for recent interference with fishing vessels in the vicinity of the River Plate basin. We have repeated this protest on several occasions bilaterally, publicly and in letters circulated at the United Nations General Assembly. We do not consider the decree to be compliant with international law, including the right of innocent passage through territorial seas under the United Nations convention on the law of the sea. There has been no interference with fishing vessels in Falkland Islands waters.

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