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Argentina missing "piece of independence" due to Malvinas: president

Xinhua, April 3, 2015 Adjust font size:

Argentina will never be completely independent until it recovers territories occupied by the British, President Cristina Fernandez said Thursday.

During a ceremony marking the 33rd anniversary of the 1982 war over the Malvinas Islands, known to the British as the Falklands, Fernandez said "We're missing a piece of independence. There's not going to be a complete July 9 (national independence day) until we have reclaimed our Malvinas Islands."

The president indicated she didn't know when the islands would be recovered, but appeared confident that someday they would be.

"I don't know if you are going to see it," she told those gathered, "but we are going to see them form part of our territory again, have no doubts about it."

The disputed islands, located just off Argentina's southern Atlantic coast, have been a "British overseas territory" since 1833, but Argentina wants them back, arguing they are currently a vestige of colonial rule.

The two countries went to war over the islands on April 2, 1982, and the conflict ended with Britain reasserting its rights over the territory.

In response to Argentina's ongoing campaign to reclaim the islands, Britain organized a referendum in 2013 asking islanders whether they wanted to remain a British territory or not, with the overwhelming majority voting in favor of remaining British.

Argentina, however, dismissed the results, since the islanders are mainly British citizens who were brought over to settle in the islands, which are rich in fish and potentially oil.

Fernandez dismissed the possibility of another military venture over the islands, saying "We are not a threat to anybody ... in military terms," but she continues to urge Britain to come to the negotiating table.Endi