DHAKA: The Falkland Islands will hold a referendum on its `political status` in a bid to end the dispute with Argentina over the archipelago`s sovereignty.
The islands` government made the announcement ahead of the anniversary on marking 30 years since the end of Argentina`s 74-day occupation in 1982.
It said it wanted to send a firm message to Argentina that islanders want to remain British, reports BBC.
The UK prime minister said Britain would support the result of the vote.
The referendum will be organised by the Falkland Islands government and will take place in the first half of next year.
The announcement comes amid growing tensions between the UK and Argentina surrounding the anniversary commemorations marking the islands` liberation by British forces on June 14, 1982.
Argentina claims sovereignty over the islands it calls the Malvinas, and wants the UK to negotiate over their rule.
Recently, UK ministers have accused Argentina of trying to impose an `economic blockade` on the islands.
The South American country has been turning away cruise ships carrying the British flag and is taking legal action against five British oil firms exploring the coast of the islands.
BDST: 2122 HRS, JUN 12, 2012
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor
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