Page last updated at 11:14 GMT, Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Minister confirms 'non-negotiable' stance on Falkland Islands

Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne has said that the UK's position on the Falkland Islands is "non-negotiable".

He spoke during a Westminster Hall debate on 31 January 2012 ahead of the 30th anniversary of the 1982 Falklands War.

He told MPs: "We should be clear and unequivocal about the position of the British government and the British parliament."

The islands have been under British sovereignty since 1833, despite territorial claims by Argentina.

In December, the Argentine parliament passed a law laying claim to the Falklands, along with nearby South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands, in a move rejected by the UK.

The debate came on the same day that it was announced that HMS Dauntless would be deployed to the South Atlantic, although no reference was made to this in the debate.

The Argentine government has accused Britain of breaking a United Nations resolution forbidding unilateral development in disputed waters, by beginning oil drilling under a seabed off the Falkland Islands.

David Cameron has told MPs that Argentina had a "colonialist" attitude to the islands, a claim repeated by the Conservative MP for Hexham, Guy Opperman, who opened the debate.

He added that Argentina's claim was "genuinely weak", and that "annexation of a small, peaceful neighbour has no place in the 21st Century".

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