Cameron pledges to defend Falkland Islanders

Cameron in the Falkland IslandsDavid Cameron has pledged to continue defending the Falkland Islands from Argentine "aggressive threats" as he marked the 30th anniversary of the South Atlantic territory's liberation.

The UK Prime Minister hailed the "astonishing courage" of the British forces who took part in the operation and led tributes to the 255 who lost their lives.
Three decades after Margaret Thatcher sent 27,000 troops and more than 100 ships to repel the Argentinian invaders, Buenos Aires continues to set its sights on claiming the territory.

But Mr Cameron said he hoped the decision by the Falkland Islands government to hold a referendum on their future sovereignty would end that dispute "once and for all".

The anniversary, he said, was "a time to pay tribute to the 255 UK servicemen who paid the ultimate price so that the people of the Falkland Islands could live in peace and in freedom.

"And it's a time to express our huge debt of gratitude to all those servicemen who showed such astonishing courage to recapture the Islands. Their bravery reminds us that freedom is only won, and peace is only kept, because there are exceptionally brave people willing to journey to the other side of the world to lay their lives on the line."

Britain's resolve to support the islanders "has not wavered in the last 30 years and it will not in the years ahead", he said.

In a swipe at Argentina, he went on: "For the last 180 years, 10 generations have called the Falkland Islands home and have strived hard to secure a prosperous future for their children.

"And despite the aggressive threats from over the water, they are succeeding. The Falklands economy is growing, the fishing industry is thriving and tourism is flourishing.

"Next year's referendum will establish the definitive choice of the Falkland Islanders once and for all. And just as we have stood up for the Falkland Islanders in the past, so we will in the future."
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