Argentina over Falklands
© Press Association Jeremy Corbyn.
Jeremy Corbyn today called for Britain to reach a “reasonable accommodation” with Argentina over the Falklands.
The Labour leader signalled he would not back a veto for the islanders over Argentine demands for Britain to give up British sovereignty over the South Atlantic outpost.
His intervention came almost 24 years after General Galtieri ordered Argentine forces to invade the islands, triggering the 1982 war which led to the death of 255 British servicemen as UK forces successfully retook the overseas territory.
Argentina has renewed demands for talks over Britain giving up its claim to the islands, which the Argentines call Las Malvinas.
Mr Corbyn said today: “There has to be a discussion about how we can bring about some reasonable accommodation with Argentina.
“It seems to me ridiculous that in the 21st Century we could get into some enormous conflict with Argentina about the islands just off it.
“Yes, of course the islanders have an enormous say in this; let's bring about some sensible dialogue.
“It happened before I'm sure it could happen again.”
The islanders confirmed their desire to remain a UK overseas territory in a 2013 referendum.
Of 1,517 votes cast in the two-day poll - on a turnout of more than 90% - 1,513 were in favour, with just three against.
But Mr Corbyn told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: “They've got the right to stay where they are, they have got a right to decide on their own future and that will be part of it.
“Let's have that discussion and let's not say agendas in advance.”
The Labour leader also risked angering veterans by referring to the "disaster” of the sinking of the Belgrano – an Argentine Navy cruiser which was torpedoed by the Royal Navy submarine HMS Conqueror, with the loss of 323 lives.
"The whole situation got worse as a result of that,” said Mr Corbyn.
“Surely in the 21st Century we can do better than go to war on these things.”
But Labour backbencher John Woodcock said the remarks were "like he's deliberately re-opening old wounds that will drive decent working class folk away and make us unelectable".
And the Falkland Islands government hit back, writing on Twitter: "The right to self-determination and have a say in our own future is fundamental to people of the Falklands. Any decisions affect our lives."