TEHRAN, YJC. -- A referendum on political status of Falkland Islands has been going on in a bid to end the dispute with Argentina over the archipelago's sovereignty.
The current political status of Falkland Islands, an archipelago located in the South Atlantic Ocean is that of an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom. The Islands are internally self-governing, with the United Kingdom only being responsible for matters including defence and foreign affairs.
The Falkland Islanders were asked whether they support the continuation of their status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom in view of Argentina's call for negotiations on the islands' sovereignty.
Should the majority of votes cast be against the current status, the Falkland Islands Government will undertake necessary consultation and preparatory work in order to conduct a further referendum on alternative options.
The voting started on March 10 will end today.
The United Kingdom and Argentina both claim responsibility for the Falkland Islands. The UK bases its position on continuous administration of the islands since 1833 (apart from 1982 when Argentina occupied the territory until UK military intervention) and the islanders having a "right to self determination, including their right to remain British if that is their wish". Argentina's position is that it gained the Falkland Islands from Spain, upon becoming independent from it in 1816, and that the UK illegally occupied them in 1833.
The present dispute began in 1945, shortly after the formation of the United Nations, when Argentina reasserted its claim of sovereignty over the Falkland Islands and its dependencies (primarily South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands). In 1964, the United Nations passed a resolution calling on the UK and Argentina to proceed with negotiations over the sovereignty dispute.