Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I just wanted to talk today about some overseas issues. There has been a lot of discussion recently in the UK press about the European union and the United Kingdoms position in the European Union and indeed Members undoubtedly would have seen the debate yesterday between UKIP and the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party. It may seem a bit remote to some but actually the European Union to the people of the Falkland Islands is really important. It really matters. Our access to the European Union for our fisheries products and for our agricultural products is critical to our economy and the continuing development of our economy. So I would just like to encourage Colleagues whenever they are in touch with any Members of the UK parliament that this is made clear to them and perhaps those Members who are attending the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) towards the end of this year might like to put this issue on the agenda so that those attending on behalf of the UK Government can be clear in their own minds what the effect might be on not only the Falklands but all the overseas Territories on the considerations of leaving the European Union.
The second issue I wanted to address is really an issue of public information but it is the very difficult and possibly dangerous position in the Crimea. And there have been lots of attempts in recent weeks to link the referendum in the Falklands with the International Communitys rejection of the referendum in Crimea. So that the public are fully aware of our Governments position on this issue, we always support the right of a people to be open and to vote on issues and to make their point known. The issue in Crimea compared to the Issue in the Falklands is very, very different. In the Falklands we had a referendum that was properly organised to international principles and standards, fully observed by independent observers and was carried out in an exemplary fashion, according to the Observer Team.
The contrast in Crimea, which is what most people are complaining about is that it was rushed and it wasnt dine in accordance with international principles and all those sorts of things. So when you hear mainly our neighbours trying to compare the two the issues are quite different. The issue for us isnt about whether the people of Crimea should be allowed to vote or not of course they should be allowed to do that. Its part of their fundamental human rights. It was how the thing was done.
There has been a great long stream of people from Latin America heading towards Vatican City recently. And indeed Her Majesty will be having an audience with the Pope very shortly. And whilst we have said quite clearly in the past that we have no wish for a mix of religion and politics, I rather wonder if, in fact, it is important that Vatican City understands all the issues that are in play. And when, in fact, our neighbours call for a zone of peace and tolerance etc., etc. that Vatican City is aware of the economic blockade thats put upon the Falklands by Argentina and the aggressive and hostile nature of that country towards the people of the Falkland Islands.
So I will be recommending to my colleagues that we might drop a note to Vatican City just to make sure they are appraised of that.
And finally, I wanted to thank publicly it seems an odd thing to do but I wanted to thank publicly the Foreign Minister of Australia for his very supportive remarks recently about the right of the people of the Falkland Islands to self-determination. Comments of countries like Australia do matter and we very much appreciate that.
And just to note as one of our Honourable Colleagues did earlier that our Colleague, Ian Hansen is currently in the Caribbean on a public diplomacy mission. And according to his e-mail this morning he and Emily are in full charm offensive so it must be something to be seen.
I support the Motion.