Argentina has refused to participate in talks over the Falkland Islands, and dismissed the islanders' demand for a say in the future of the disputed archipelago.

Talks between representatives of Britain, Argentina and the Falklands were due to take place next week, following Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's recent claim that British control of the islands is "a blatant exercise of 19th century colonialism."

However Argentina has now announced it will not be attending the talks, and its foreign minister Hector Timerman has claimed the United Nations views the dispute as a bilateral issue which only involves London and Buenos Aires.

Timerman said simply: "The international community does not recognise a third party in this dispute."

A delegation of 3,000 Falkland Islanders had intended to deliver a strong message to Argentina during the talks, and refute its claim to ownership of the isles.

Islanders Dick Sawle and Jan Cheek previewed the message from the Falklands Assembly, saying: "We demand that our rights be respected and that we be left in peace to choose our own future and to develop our country for our children and generations to come.

"We look forward to giving Hector Timerman some very direct messages on the unacceptability of Argentina's actions against the Falkland Islands in recent years.

"It is only right that he should hear this directly from us, as well as from Mr Hague."

The UK Foreign Office said it was considering its response to Argentina's snub. A statement read: "We informed the Argentine Embassy that the foreign secretary wished to raise issues and concerns about the Falkland Islands with Mr Timerman personally, and that he had invited political representatives of the Falkland Islands government to attend the meeting."

The Falklands Assembly is due to hold a referendum on its sovereignty in March.