By Gerald Heneghan
Argentina has declined an offer to meet representatives of the Falklands Islands’ government in London.
Hector Timmerman, Argentine foreign minister, rejected the offer from the UK’s Foreign Office, claiming that the international community did not recognise the Islands’ government as legitimate.
Mr Timmerman had initially requested a one-on-one meeting with the British foreign secretary and stated he was sorry that William Hague couldn’t “meet without the supervision of the colonists from the Malvinas”.
Representatives of the Islands’ government were prepared to engage in a “full and frank exchange of views” at the meeting, where they would have urged Argentina to respect their right to decide their own fate.
The cancelled meeting comes shortly ahead of a referendum on the political affiliation of the Islands, which will be held in March.
Last month, Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner called on Britain to abide by a UN resolution to engage in talks over the disputed territories.
She branded Britain’s occupation of the Islands as a “blatant exercise of 19th-century colonialism”.
However, prime minister David Cameron hit back, stating that the future of the Islands should be decided by their residents.
“Whenever they have been asked their opinion, they say they want to maintain their current status with the United Kingdom,” he said.