British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, on a political and trade visit to South America, including Colombia, Chile and Brazil, said the Falkland Islands people have the right to self determination recalling that ten years ago Islanders overwhelmingly voted to remain in the British Family.
During a speech this week in Santiago, Cleverly underlined the global relevance of Latin America and UK’s interest in reaffirming closer links, insisting on the need for free trade agreements with the region and mentioning that Brazil should become a permanent member of an expanded and reformed UN Security Council.
Foreign Secretary Cleverly also outlined a UK policy for the region and called on all nations to support Ukraine from the Russian invasion. He underlined UK political and arms contribution to Ukraine and Kiev’s right to defend itself from Russia based on self determination and democracy.
“And speaking of self determination and democracy, it would be negligent from my part if I did not mention the Falkland Islands,” pointed out Cleverly in his speech.
“People who live in the Falklands, as everybody else in the world have the right to decide their own future in political, cultural, economic and development terms”. He then recalled the 2013 Falklands referendum “when it was plain clear Islanders wished to maintain their current relation with the United Kingdom, and their absolute right to do so. And we will continue to support them”.
Successive Argentine governments have persistently claimed sovereignty rights over the Falklands/Malvinas in international forums.
The Foreign Secretary said that trade and investment of UK in Latin America has been recovering strongly, particularly from a minimum last year, after the pandemic, and that there is a shared strategic focus on issues such as critical minerals, green hydrogen and sustainable infrastructure, which he described as “encouraging”.
“The imminent access of the UK to the TransPacific Association, which includes Mexico, Peru and Chile is a positive indicator, and we hope that very soon Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay, join that organization,” adding that last week UK and Mexico finalized the third round of talks for a Free Trade Agreement.
Finally Cleverly mentioned that the universal values on which rests the international order are increasingly threatened and violated, requiring a prompt, effective and coordinated response, with world multilateral institutions in need of reform, in particular giving a louder voice and influence to Latin America. “We are prepared to see Brazil sitting as permanent member of the UN Security Council”-