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Falkland residents heading to UN

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A group of young Falkland Islanders hope to meet Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner at the UN

A group of young Falkland Islanders hope to meet Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner at the UN

A group of young Falkland Islanders hope to meet Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner at the UN

A group of young Falkland Islanders hope to present Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner with a firm message at the UN in New York that they want to remain British subjects and continue their current way of life.

A small delegation of islanders, most of whom were not yet born when the Falklands War took place in 1982, will travel to the United States with a "message of peace" for Ms de Kirchner and the Argentinian delegation at a UN conference on decolonisation.

But they said that the South American country's dismissive attitude to Falkland Islanders is an "insult" to the generations of families who have forged a life there.

The Argentinian president is planning to attend the meeting of the UN's Committee of 24 (Special Committee on Decolonisation) on June 14, which is Liberation Day and the 30th anniversary of the end of the 74-day conflict which claimed the lives of 255 British servicemen, 655 Argentines and three islanders.

James Marsh, 31, a delegate who works for the Falklands government, said: "We are sixth and seventh generation Falkland Islanders, our families forged a life in the Falklands when times were much less easy than they are now.

"It is an insult to those people that their endeavours, the 150 years we have been in the Falklands, are not recognised by the Argentine politicians."

He added: "I think the most important thing we can tell them is we are a vibrant, young, self-sufficient community who just want to be left in peace to forge our own future."

The Falklands, a rocky archipelago in the South Atlantic half the size of Wales, are 7,780 miles from the UK and 1,140 miles from Buenos Aires. They have been under British control since 1833 - apart from during the 74 days of the occupation in 1982.

The island delegation said they often get drowned out by the arguments over sovereignty taking place between the UK and Argentina.

Ailie Biggs, 29, who runs a chain of convenience stores on the islands, said: "It is not often we are asked, a lot of the time it is discussions between Argentina and the UK. This is one opportunity, we really feel, where as Falkland Islanders we can say what we feel and we are the important ones in the equation - we are the ones who live there."

PA