STANLEY, Falkland Islands - Residents of the Falkland Islands voted almost unanimously to stay under British rule in a referendum aimed at winning global sympathy as Argentina intensifies its sovereignty claim, results showed on Monday.
The official count showed 99.8 percent of islanders voted in favor of remaining a British Overseas Territory in the two-day referendum, which was rejected by Argentina as a meaningless publicity stunt. Only three "no" votes were cast.
"Surely this must be the strongest message we can get out to the world," said Roger Edwards, one of the Falklands assembly's eight elected members.
"(The message) that we are content, that we wish to retain the status quo ... with the right to determine our own future and not become a colony of Argentina."
Pro-British feeling is running high in the barren and blustery islands that lie off the tip of Patagonia, and turnout was 92 percent among the 1,649 Falklands-born and long-term residents registered to vote.