Cameron arrives in Falklands to show support for ‘valued part of British family’

Lord Cameron has become the first foreign secretary to visit the Falkland Islands in 30 years, in a high-profile demonstration the contested territory is a “part of the British family”.

Lord Cameron said that the archipelago’s sovereignty is “not… up for discussion” while the islanders wish to be British, despite fresh calls from Argentina for talks on the future of the islands.

The Foreign Secretary arrived at Mount Pleasant airbase and will visit some of the key battle sites of the 1982 Falklands War to pay his respects to those who lost their lives in the conflict.

Argentina’s president, Javier Milei, who met Lord Cameron last month, has called for the South Atlantic islands to be handed over to Buenos Aires.

But ahead of his arrival in the UK overseas territory, Lord Cameron said: “The Falkland Islands are a valued part of the British family, and we are clear that as long as they want to remain part of the family, the issue of sovereignty will not be up for discussion.”

The shadow of the 1982 Falklands War hangs over UK-Argentine relations, but Lord Cameron and Mr Milei had a “warm and cordial” meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

On the issue of the Falklands, the Foreign Office said “they would agree to disagree, and do so politely”.

The former prime minister’s visit is the first by a member of the Cabinet since then defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon’s trip in 2016.

The last visit by a foreign secretary was Lord Hurd in 1994.

The Falklands, known as Islas Malvinas in Argentina, are about 8,000 miles from Britain and 300 miles from mainland Argentina.

The 1982 conflict claimed the lives of 255 British servicemen, three islanders and 649 Argentinian personnel.

In a 2013 referendum, the islanders voted overwhelmingly to retain their status as a UK overseas territory.

But Mr Milei has suggested the UK should approach the issue  in a way similar to the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997.

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