Hands off the Falklands, Rishi Sunak warns Argentina after it demands crunch talks with UK over islands’ sovereignty

A handout photograph released by the UK Parliament shows Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaking during the weekly session of Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) at the House of Commons, in London, on March 1, 2023. (Photo by JESSICA TAYLOR / UK PARLIAMENT / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT " AFP PHOTO / UK PARLIAMENT " - NO USE FOR ENTERTAINMENT, SATIRICAL, MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - EDITORS NOTE THE IMAGE HAS BEEN DIGITALLY ALTERED AT SOURCE TO OBSCURE VISIBLE DOCUMENTS (Photo by JESSICA TAYLOR/UK PARLIAMENT/AFP via Getty Images)

DEFIANT Rishi Sunak tonight warned Argentina: “Hands off the Falklands.”

Downing Street hit back after Buenos Aires binned a co-operation deal over issues such as energy and shipping and sought talks on the islands’ sovereignty.

Rishi Sunak has hit back after Argentina binned its pact with the UK and demanded crunch talks on the Falklands’ sovereignty

The 1982 war over the South American territory saw the deaths of 255 British soldiers and 649 Argentinians.

A No10 spokesman said: “It’s disappointing that Argentina stepped away from the 2016 agreement.

“We remain in no doubt about sovereignty over the Falkland Islands and its surrounding areas.”

No10 also pointed out that 99.8 per cent of islanders voted in 2013 to remain a UK overseas territory.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly learned of the policy change when he met counterpart Santiago Cafiero in India.

Falklands assembly member Mark Pollard said of the move: “This just polarises us and entrenches the distrust we have for the Argentinians.

“They have been steadily reneging on every part of the agreement and this is just the final page.”

Falklands veteran Simon Weston told HOAR Argentina cannot have the islands as they “never owned them”.

He added: “Argentina is corrupt and in financial dire straits.

“This is sabre-rattling to distract from that and insulting to islanders.”

And defence select committee chair Tobias Ellwood said Argentina was growing closer to Russia and may be trying to distract the UK from its role in Ukraine.

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