The people of the Falkland Islands have begun voting in a two-day referendum on whether to remain a British overseas territory.
Argentina has constantly reiterated its claims to the islands, 30 years after it was repelled by a British task force in a 74-day conflict.
The islanders decided to hold the vote in response to Argentine pressure for negotiations over sovereignty.
Some 1,672 British citizens - out of a population of about 2,900 - can vote.
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has said the inhabitants' wishes are not relevant in what is a territorial issue.
Most Argentines regard the islands, which they call Las Malvinas, as Argentine and their recovery is enshrined in the national constitution.
While the 1,600 or so eligible Falkland Islanders vote in the referendum, the government here in Argentina calls it both "illegal" and "utterly meaningless". Their position is clear - this is an issue of sovereignty between the two countries, and that the people on the island do not have the right to self-determination.
The result, expected to be a resounding yes to remain a British overseas territory, will not affect the government position that Las Malvinas, as they are known here, belong to Argentina. It's a view reflected by the majority of people - in a recent poll, 75% of Argentinians took this position. It's been suggested domestic pressure on President Kirchner has led to increased diplomatic rhetoric over the islands, a request for the UN to look at the issue and sanctions on companies working there.
The inflation rate is estimated to be more than 25% but Argentina blames the UK for escalating the issue by intensifying oil exploration efforts. Dick Sawle, a member of the island's legislative assembly, played a leading part in pushing for the vote.
He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show he hoped the result would reaffirm the principle of self-determination and send a message to both the international community and to Argentines. "I would hope that whilst the government of Argentina may not listen to us, I hope the people... will listen to us, because I think there are many people within Argentina who are not in tune with their government."
He rejected President Kirchner's suggestion they were an "implanted" population, saying the Falklands had been settled throughout history in the same way as South America, but with no indigenous population to displace.
Despite the clarity of the history, he added, there was the fundamental right to self-determination "to which no-one can attach conditions".
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