Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne has spoken after the Mercosur group of countries decided to prevent ships that fly the flag of the Falkland Islands from entering their ports.
Speaking today the Foreign Office Minister said:
“I am concerned by the decision of the Mercosur group of countries to prevent ships that fly the flag of the Falkland Islands from entering their ports. Falklands-flagged vessels have been regular visitors to South American ports for 150 years.
“It is not yet clear what the practical impact of the Mercosur statement might be as it reflects similar language used in the region previously. Some countries take a different view from us on our sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. It is for the people of the Falkland Islands to determine their future. It is unacceptable to engage in an economic blockade of the Falklands. Mercosur should take the responsible decision and not do this. There can be no justification - legal, moral or political - for efforts to intimidate the people of the Falkland Islands.
“I have instructed our Ambassadors in the region to raise this issue as a matter of urgency to clarify exactly whether or how Mercosur countries propose to implement this agreement. We will then consider our next steps in light of information we receive. But no one should be in any doubt about the British Government’s commitment to support the Falkland Islanders’ right to determine their own political future.”
Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay make up the Mercosur.