William Hague has accused Argentina of “bullying” behaviour over the Falklands as he insisted the islands would remain British.
The Foreign Secretary dismissed claims from Argentinian counterpart Hector Timerman that the Falkland Islands would be controlled from Buenos Aires within 20 years.
Mr Hague said the suggestion was a “fantasy” and said the tactics adopted by Argentina were counterproductive.
On a visit to London last week, Mr Timerman refused to attend a meeting with the Foreign Secretary because representatives of the islanders were present.
Mr Timerman told reporters at the Argentine ambassador’s residence that as far as Buenos Aires was concerned, Falkland islanders do “not exist”.
But Mr Hague said: “This is a community that is nearly 200 years old. They seem very determined to remain British.
“If there’s any chance they would change their minds, the approach by Argentina is completely counterproductive.
The islanders will vote in a referendum next month, which is expected to underline their determination to remain a British overseas territory.
The Foreign Secretary said: “Mr Timerman made a couple of extraordinary statements, one of which was that Falkland islanders don’t exist. I can tell him they very much do exist and they are in good heart and great shape.”