In a bold response to Argentina’s newly elected President, Javier Milei, Falkland Islands Assembly member Mark Pollard asserted the island’s right to self-determination and disputed claims that the Falklands ever belonged to Argentina.
Milei, who has been likened to former US President Donald Trump, recently stated during the election campaign that diplomatic negotiations were necessary to reclaim the Falklands, known as the Malvinas in Argentina, proposing a solution akin to the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China in 1997.
Mark Pollard, speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, welcomed Milei’s acknowledgment of the Falkland Islands’ people, saying: “It’s actually refreshing to see an Argentine President saying the position of the Falkland Islands cannot be ignored.
“That’s a different stance to what we’ve heard before.”
Addressing the historical claims, Pollard stressed: “As for returning the Falklands back to Argentina, I think we would certainly dispute that the Falklands never belonged to Argentina in the first place.”
Pollard acknowledged the complexities of historical claims, adding: “But I think we can get bogged down all too often in who had a claim 200 years ago and who didn’t before Argentina was even a country of its own, really.”
Highlighting the democratic voice of the Falkland Islands, Pollard pointed to a pivotal moment in their history, saying, “But we had a referendum 10 years ago.
“It’s the 10th year anniversary now. There was a 92 per cent turnout and 99.8 per cent voted to remain as a British Overseas Territory.
“So not even ‘do you want to be British or Argentinian?’ But do you want to remain a British Overseas Territory?”
Asserting the islanders’ commitment to their identity, Pollard declared: “We believe in our right to self-determination and we believe we are British and we want to remain British.”
Pollard also reflected on the historical agreements between the Falklands and Argentina, expressing disappointment with actions by the previous government.
He said: “In order to get support from our people, we need to see some commitment to roll back some of the sanctions they imposed on the Falkland Islands. So both economic and social sanctions they’ve been imposing for many, many years.”