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Taunton Deane MP praises Falkland Islanders
9:10am Wednesday 20th June 2012 in Taunton
TAUNTON Deane MP and Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne has spoken of his admiration for the Falkland Islanders on the 30th anniversary of the end of the conflict with Argentina.
A total of 255 British servicemen were killed regaining the Falklands following an Argentine invasion in 1982.Mr Browne represented the UK Government at commemoration services in the capital, Stanley, and met members of the Falkland Islands Assembly to hear how they are building their economy and developing communities to improve local facilities.He stressed the islanders' right to determine their own future as the island's government announced a referendum on the political future of the South Atlantic islands.
Mr Browne also attended a Liberation Day Service and parade involving members of the Armed Forces and locals, as well as visiting the Argentine cemetery at Darwin, opening a new fisheries building and seeing round a community school in Stanley.
Mr Browne said: “The sacrifices made by the British armed forces in the 1982 conflict were significant. We'll never forget them.
“But the British Government believed then, as we do today, that the protection of the Falkland Islanders' political liberty - of their right to determine their own future - is a principle worth defending.
“Whilst it is for the Islanders to choose, let me be clear - the British government greatly values the links between the UK and the Falkland Islands.
“We believe these should continue and deepen, long into the future.
“And if this proves to be the will of the Falkland Islands people, then we in the UK won't just respect it, but will continue actively to defend this act of self-determination from those who seek to challenge it.”
During his visit to the Falklands, Mr Browne declined an invitation to talks with the Argentinian government due to his “full schedule of events” arranged months ago.
The Foreign Office wants to build “a stronger partnership” with Argentina, but refuses to discuss the Falklands' sovereignty.