Mon, Mar 11, 2013 - Page 7 News List

Falklands residents vote in sovereignty referendum

CLAIMS:While some Falklands residents were glad to get the chance to voice their opinion, an Argentine official has dismissed the referendum as a meaningless publicity stunt

Reuters, STANLEY, Falkland Islands

No one in Argentina advocates another effort to take the islands by force, but some analysts say the current tough strategy may prove counterproductive by antagonizing islanders.

“Until Argentina is able to persuade the Falkland Islanders to accept some form of Argentine sovereignty over the islands, Argentina’s efforts to reclaim them will be an exercise in futility,” said Mark Jones, chair of political science at Houston-based Rice University.

In the islands, where plans for oil production to start in 2017 could further boost the flourishing local economy, most residents are determined to maintain the status quo.

“Our best-case scenario is for them to drop their claim and realize that we are a people, we are a country and we do exist,” said Gavin Short, one of the Falklands assembly’s eight elected members.

Asked if he thought that might happen, he said: “Not in my lifetime.”

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