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Falklands Islanders Vote To Remain Under British Sovereignty

Falkland Islanders have overwhelmingly voted in favor of remaining part of Britain.

Of the 1,517 people who polled in a two-day voting in referendum on whether they want to be part of Britain or Argentina, all but three acknowledged British sovereignty, reports said.

Falkland Islands have a population of about 2,900. In all, 1,672 residents of the islands located east of Argentina were eligible to decide whether they want it to retain the current political status of a UK overseas territory.

The British government welcomed the result of the referendum, which Argentina already dismissed as illegitimate.

Foreign Secretary William Hague urged "all countries" to accept the wish of the Falkland Islanders, while the Argentinian Embassy in London said the referendum was "a further attempt by the British to manipulate the question of the Malvinas Islands," as Argentinians call it.

Argentina faced a setback in their assertive claim over the islands when its troops were repelled by British soldiers in a bloody war three decades ago.

The two countries' territorial dispute re-kindled after the recent discovery of oil near the Falklands, which is also rich in fisheries.

The remote archipelago, a re-established British colony since 1833, lies about 480 kilometers east of Argentina in the South Atlantic Ocean. One of 14 British Overseas Territories, the Falklands is a strategic shipping stopover.

Falklands Islands have a regional government, which raises its own taxes, and a Legislative Assembly, but defense and foreign policy decisions come from London.

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