Falkland Islands to pay Thatcher tribute

LONDON (AFP) - The Falkland Islands plans to hold a public day of mourning to coincide with the funeral of Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister who waged war with Argentina in 1982 to retake the archipelago.

The islands' government said a memorial service will be held at the Christ Church Cathedral in capital Stanley next Wednesday, shortly after the funeral.

Thatcher died on Monday following a stroke aged 87.

Many in Britain consider Thatcher's decision to send a military task force to liberate the Falklands following the Argentine invasion as her finest hour.

"She will be forever remembered in the islands for her decisiveness in sending a task force to liberate our home following the Argentine invasion in 1982," said Mike Summers of the islands' legislative assembly.

"Her friendship and support will be sorely missed, and we will always be thankful for all that she did for us."

Falkland Islanders earlier this month voted 99.8 per cent in favour of remaining British, although Argentina rejected the vote as meaningless.

The 1982 war cost a total of 649 Argentine and 255 British lives.

Tensions have flared anew in recent years as Britain opened the islands' waters to oil exploration.