HC Deb 26 April 1977 vol 930 cc273-4W
Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when negotiations with Argentina about the Falkland Islands are likely to begin.

Dr. Owen

The British and Argentine Governments have now reached agreement on the terms of reference for negotiations about the Falkland Islands dispute, as followsThe Governments of the Argentine Republic and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland have agreed to hold negotiations from June or July 1977 which will concern future political relations, including sovereignty, with regard to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, and economic co-operation with regard to the said territories, in particular, and the South West Atlantic, in general. In these negotiations the issues affecting the future of the Islands will be discussed, and negotiations will be directed to the working out of a peaceful solution to the existing dispute on sovereignty between the two states, and the establishment of a framework for Anglo Argentine economic co-operation which will contribute substantially to the development of the Islands, and the region as a whole A major objective of the negotiations will be to achieve a stable, prosperous and politically durable future for the Islands, whose people the Government of the United Kingdom will consult during the course of the negotiations. The agreement to hold these negotiations, and the negotiations themselves, are without prejudice to the position of either Government with regard to sovereignty over the Islands. The level at which the negotiations will be conducted, and the times and places at which they will be held, will be determined by agreement between the two Governments If necessary, special Working Groups will be established.