New Falklands row as The Sun gets stuck in
TENSIONS over the Falkland Islands have flared further after The Sun newspaper took out an advert in an Argentinian newspaper.
In a full-page advert, the British tabloid warned the country's president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to keep her "hands off" the islands.
The ad appeared in the English-language Buenos Aires Herald in retaliation to an open letter from Ms Kirchner published in The Guardian earlier this week.
In it, she called for the islands to come under Argentine sovereignty.
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A referendum on the islands' political status will be held in March, and Prime Minister David Cameron has emphasised that the islanders must decide their own future.
One Plymouth serviceman currently deployed in the Falklands told The Herald the latest row between the UK and Argentina was of little concern to those based on the islands.
Speaking anonymously, he said most comrades suspected Ms Kircher was using the issue as a "political tool", and had no concerns about a full-blown conflict erupting.
The serviceman added: "From speaking to the islanders over the weekends we've been in Stanley the referendum is very much a paperwork exercise and the result is already known for certain; the islanders will vote overwhelmingly in favour of remaining British."
The Sun's response to Ms Kirchner mentions the 649 Argentine and 255 British military personnel killed in the invasion of the islands 31 years ago.
The advert, which was printed in both Spanish and English, claims Argentina's invasion was in "direct conflict" with the UN principle of self-determination.
It describes claims that Argentina was stripped of the islands as "unfounded" and points out that British sovereignty dates back to 1765.
The advert concludes: "The islands have never been governed by or formed part of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Argentina.
"Until the people of the Falkland Islands choose to become Argentinian, they remain resolutely British.
"In the name of our millions of readers and to put it another way: 'HANDS OFF!"'
David Cameron yesterday rebuffed claims by Ms Kirchner that Britain is a colonial power and that the islands should be handed over.
The PM told her she should "listen" to the result of a referendum to be held on the island, and if the people chose to remain British they would have his "100 per cent" backing.
"The future of the Falkland Islands should be determined by the Falkland Islanders themselves, the people who live there," Mr Cameron said.
"Whenever they have been asked their opinion, they say they want to maintain their current status with the United Kingdom.
"They're holding a referendum this year and I hope the president of Argentina will listen to that referendum and recognise it is for the Falkland Islanders to choose their future, and as long as they choose to stay with the United Kingdom they have my 100 per cent backing."