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Venezuela rejects Malvinas referendum


13:26, March 11, 2013

CARACAS, March 10 (Xinhua) -- The Venezuelan government said Sunday that it does not recognize the two-day referendum held on the Malvinas Islands, known as the Falklands to the British, on the legal status of the disputed islands.

In an official statement released by the country's foreign ministry, the Venezuelan government called the referendum a "claim of the United Kingdom to alter the legal status" of the islands.

The referendum was a move by a "colonialist nation" that aims to "deprive Argentina of its legitimate right to sovereignty over these territories" in violation of relevant UN resolutions and international law, the statement said.

"Self-determination cannot be claimed in a disputed and colonized territory, with a population forcibly implanted representing UK interests," it added, urging other countries to speak out against the referendum.

Argentina was defeated in 1982 by Britain in a 74-day war triggered by a dispute over the territorial rights of the islands, located just off the southern coast of Argentina.

The referendum, which started early Sunday, is expected to last two days. According to local media, of the 2,932 residents on the islands, 1,649 people are registered to vote.

The Argentine government, considering the referendum as an "illegal" move, has demanded a negotiation with London to address the issue under the provisions of UN resolutions dating from 1965 to 2012.

Britain, on the other hand, has shown its full support to the referendum and the islanders' right to self-determination.

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