UK Foreign Minister said Falkland Islanders “deserve to decide their own future”

British Foreign Minister James Cleverly gave a speech at the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center, in the heart of Santiago de Chile (REUTERS / Ivan Alvarado) (IVAN ALVARADO /)

british chancellor James Cleverleyvisiting Chile, highlighted the right to self-determination of the disputed Falkland Islands, whose population voted overwhelmingly in 2013 to remain a British Overseas Territory.

The sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands -Falklands for the British- has been claimed by Argentina since 1833. Both countries fought over control of the archipelago in a war in 1982, in which the South American country was defeated. In a referendum in 2013, its inhabitants voted to remain under British rule.

Cleverly addressed the issue during a speech at a cultural center in the Chilean capital as part of a brief visit to Chile and as part of a Latin American tour in which he addressed his country’s relations with the region. the diplomat also called other nations to support Ukraine against the Russian invasion.

After reiterating British support at the United Nations for Ukraine’s right to defend itself against the Russian invasion, he referred to the issue of self-determination for the Malvinas archipelago, some 500 kilometers from the Argentine coast.

“Speaking of self-determination and democracy, it would be remiss of me not to mention the Falkands. Those who inhabit the Falklands Islands, like everyone, deserve the freedom to decide about their own future in political, cultural, economic and development terms”, Cleverly stressed in his speech. “In 2013 their referendum made it clear that wish to maintain their current relationship with the UK, as is his absolute right. And we will continue to support them.”

Successive Argentine governments have claimed sovereignty over the archipelago in international forums.

James Cleverly looks at his watch as he speaks at a conference on the UK's relationship with Latin America in Santiago, Chile (AP Photo/Esteban Félix)
James Cleverly looks at his watch while speaking at a conference on the United Kingdom’s relationship with Latin America in Santiago de Chile (AP Photo/Esteban Félix) (Esteban Felix/)

Ties with the region

Separately, Cleverly said the UK’s trade and investment with Latin America rebounded strongly last year from its post-pandemic trough and that the shared strategic focus on critical minerals, green hydrogen and sustainable infrastructure is “encouraging”.

“The imminent accession of the United Kingdom to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreementwhich includes Mexico, Peru and Chile, is a positive indicator and we hope that Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay will soon join that organization,” he explained, noting that last week the third round of talks for a Free Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom and Mexico.

cleverly He also remarked that the universal values ​​on which the international order is based are timeless, but he considered that the world’s multilateral institutions need a reformin particular to give more voice and influence to Latin America. “We want Brazil to sit today as a permanent member of the UN Security Council”he assured.

A reform of the UN Security Council has been a theme reiterated by the Brazilian president Lula da Silva in the G7 sessions in which he has participated, where he has suggested the inclusion of new permanent members so that the block “recovers the effectiveness, political and moral authority to deal with the conflicts and dilemmas of the 21st century.” The Security Council is made up of five permanent members: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The Chilean Foreign Minister, Alberto van Klaveren, and the British Foreign Minister, James Cleverly (REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado)
The Chilean Foreign Minister, Alberto van Klaveren, and the British Foreign Minister, James Cleverly (REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado) (IVAN ALVARADO/)

In addition, he noted that the government of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is providing millions of pounds sterling for tax reform in Brazil and for rule of law and anti-corruption reforms in Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

“The collaboration between Latin America and the United Kingdom can make a difference not only for our security and prosperity, but for the entire world,” he said.

interpersonal ties

In his speech in Santiago de Chile, British Foreign Minister James Cleverly stated that “interpersonal ties” between these countries should not be neglected either, given that the UK is home to more than 250,000 Latin American people, “among them 71 players from the English Premier League and 6 players from the Argentine team that won the World Cup.” “Even my team, Arsenal, have 3 fantastic Brazilian players, all called ‘Gabriel’… but they couldn’t win the tournament,” he joked.

stated that “Spanish is already the second most popular foreign language in British schoolsand is expected to occupy the first place in the coming years.”

Chilean Foreign Minister Alberto van Klaveren and James Cleverly met in Santiago de Chile (REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado)
Chilean Foreign Minister Alberto van Klaveren and James Cleverly met in Santiago de Chile (REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado) (IVAN ALVARADO/)

Concluding his message, Cleverly said he hopes the best and brightest researchers and students from Latin America go to the world’s leading universities in the UK, and more UK students travel to Latin America to study.

“We must be ambitious for our future relationship. Not only because of the historical bonds of friendship that have united us for more than 200 years. But because we treasure the same fundamental values ​​that inspired the creation of the international order. It will only evolve, survive and prosper with the unconditional support and commitment of this great region”, he concluded.

Cleverly began a tour of Jamaica, Colombia, Chile on May 18 and is now traveling to Brazil.

(With information from AP)

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