BUENOS AIRES, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Residents on the disputed Malvinas Islands will hold a referendum in March next year on whether to remain under the British administration or become part of Argentina, local media reported Sunday.
"The vote is slated for March 2013 and the exact date will be determined by Chief Executive Keith Padgett in consultation with the Legislative Assembly," the island's Executive Council said.
The referendum "is intended to send a message to the international community" about what the islanders want, Padgett said.
Both Britain and Argentina have claimed the islands, known to the British as the Falklands, since the early 1800s.
In 1982, Argentina tried to retake the islands by force, leading to a 74-day war. Buenuos Aires has not given up its claim to the islands just off its south Atlantic coast despite losing the war.
Recent oil exploration in the waters surrounding the islets is expected to further deteriorate their ties.
Last June, island officials said residents would be given a chance to vote on self-determination after Argentine President Cristina Fernandez described Britain's rule over the islands as a holdover from colonialization.
According to a local Argentinian newspaper, the referendum lacks validity as the residents are not the original inhabitants, but British immigrants.