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Argentina Objects to British Company Drilling for Oil Near Falklands

  • Larry Freund

The foreign minister of Argentina, Jorge Taiana met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Wednesday in New York to explain his country's objections to the drilling for oil in the waters off the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic.

He first took his case to the United Nations, then to the public as he explained why his country is unhappy exploration. Argentina claims sovereignty over the Falklands, it calls them the Malvinas, and occupied the territory for two months in 1982 before British troops reestablished control.

After meeting with the U.N. Secretary General, Taiana, speaking in Spanish, told a news conference that the oil exploration by a British company is a unilateral act among a string of illegal movements that Britain has taken.

The Argentine foreign minister said that his country is going to defend through all diplomatic means based on international law the rights and resources of Argentines. He said at an appropriate time Argentina will bring the permanent and clear claim of his country to various international organizations. He said the UN Secretary-General was not happy to learn that the situation is worsening, and he is willing to continue his work as a go-between.

Asked why the Falkland Island residents cannot determine their own sovereignty, foreign minister Taiana said it is because they are part of Argentine territory. "The resolutions of the United Nations are clear that this is a case in which we have to respect the integrity of the territory of the Argentine country and that we have to take into account the interest of the population of the islands," he said.

In a statement, Britain's ambassador to the United Nations, Mark Lyall Grant said Britain has no doubt about its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands and that the Falkland Islands government is entitled to develop a hydrocarbons industry within its waters.

Argentina has announced that special permits will be required for all ships using its ports or territorial waters to reach the Falkland Islands.