LONDON (AFP) - British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday urged Argentina to respect the wishes of the Falkland Islanders after they voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to remain a British territory.
Before the result, Buenos Aires had dismissed the vote as meaningless in international law, saying it would not affect its claims on the South Atlantic archipelago.
But Mr Cameron said the 99.8 per cent "yes" vote, on a turnout of 92 per cent, was "the clearest possible result there could be" and Argentina should respect that.
"They should take careful note of this result. The Falkland Islanders couldn't have spoken more clearly," he said in a statement.
"They want to remain British and that view should be respected by everybody, including by Argentina."
He added that he was personally "delighted" at the outcome.
"The Falkland Islands may be thousands of miles away but they are British through and through and that is how they want to stay. People should know we will always be there to defend them," he said.
"We believe in self-determination. The Falkland Islanders have spoken so clearly about their future and now other countries right across the world, I hope, will respect and revere this very, very clear result."