LONDON (AP) — Britain has reasserted sovereignty over the Falkland Islands after Argentina pulled out of a co-operation deal and demanded new talks over the South Atlantic territory that sparked a dispute. 1982 war between the two countries.
The statement came after Argentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero said on Twitter that he had informed Britain’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly of his country’s decision when the pair met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in India last week.
“The Falkland Islands are British,” Cleverly tweeted on Friday night. “The islanders have the right to decide their own future – they have chosen to remain a self-governing British Overseas Territory.”
Earlier, Cafiero said he told Cleverly that Argentina had decided to pull out of a 2016 agreement in which the two countries pledged to work together on a variety of issues. While this agreement aimed to improve cooperation in the South Atlantic, both sides continued to assert their claims of sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, known as Islas Malvinas in Argentina.
Cafiero also said he was proposing new talks in accordance with a 1965 United Nations General Assembly resolution that encouraged Britain and Argentina to find a peaceful solution to the dispute over the islands.
Argentina has long claimed sovereignty over the islands, which lie about 300 miles (480 kilometers) from South America and are home to some 3,500 people.
Argentina maintains that the islands were illegally taken from it in 1833. Britain, which claims its territorial claim dates back to 1765, sent a warship to the islands in 1833 to expel Argentine forces that had sought to establish their sovereignty over the territory.
Argentina invaded the islands in 1982, starting a two-month war that claimed the lives of 255 British servicemen, three islanders and 649 Argentine personnel. The Argentine forces were eventually expelled and Britain reasserted control.
In 2013, residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom.
David Rutley, Britain’s Minister for the Americas, expressed his disappointment with Argentina’s decision.
“Argentina has chosen to withdraw from an agreement that brought comfort to the families of those who died in the 1982 conflict,” Rutley, who recently visited Buenos Aires, tweeted. “Argentina, the UK and the Falklands have all benefited from this agreement.”