News / Americas

Oil Fuels British-Argentine Standoff Over Falklands

Argentinean Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, Feb. 6, 2013.Argentinean Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, Feb. 6, 2013.
x
Argentinean Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, Feb. 6, 2013.
Argentinean Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, Feb. 6, 2013.
Reuters
Argentina stepped up its row with Britain over the Falklands on Wednesday with its foreign minister thanking God for the decline of the British Empire and vowing to prosecute oil firms exploring off the remote South Atlantic islands.
       
In a defiant news conference, held in London but conducted in Spanish, Hector Timerman called Britain the "greatest colonial empire from the 19th century ... that thank God has been defeated worldwide.''
       
He insisted the islands' roughly 3,000 British inhabitants should not be referred to as Falklanders, but as "British inhabitants of the Malvinas islands'', the name Argentina uses for the remote territory some 300 miles off its coast.
       
Timerman has refused to meet British Foreign Secretary William Hague to discuss the islands because of Britain's insistence that Falklands residents be present, part of what London says is their right to self-determination, but a condition Timerman referred to as an "ultimatum''.
       
"The United Nations is very clear. Self-determination applies to a native people, not to people that have been implanted,'' he said at a news conference titled "Meeting of European Pro-Dialogue Groups on the Malvinas Question."
       
"I have left an invitation for him [Hague] to go to Buenos Aires without any ultimatum, without any conditions so that we can meet as two friendly countries for dialogue,'' he added, speaking through a translator at the ambassador's residence.
       
Britain fought a 10-week war to eject Argentinian forces who invaded the islands in 1982. The Falklands are part of Britain's self-governing territories, and Buenos Aires has ramped up efforts to stake its claim to the territory as London-listed firms seek to tap oil and gas deposits around the islands.
       
Timerman arrived in London this week to make the case for Argentine ownership of the islands, but has met a mostly hostile response, with British lawmakers on Tuesday accusing him of "megaphone diplomacy'' and using "offensive" arguments.
       
Hague said it was a shame Timerman was unwilling to attend a meeting with him and Falkland Island representatives.
       
"There is no way such a conversation could have taken place without members of the Falkland Islands government being present, especially given the current Argentine government's behaviour towards the Islanders. It is, and must always be, for them to decide their own future,'' Hague said in a statement.
       
A referendum on the Falklands' future is scheduled for March, a vote in which the islanders are almost certain to choose to remain British, and which Timerman likened to asking Israeli settlers whether they want to be Israeli or Palestinian.

"Stealing" Resources
               
Timerman, 59, batted away suggestions from British reporters that Argentina was also a colonial power, its settler pioneers having colonized land once belonging to indigenous Indians, a comparison Timerman labeled  "audacious.''
       
On Tuesday he ruled out any future military efforts to seize the Falklands, but said he was confident negotiations would lead to Argentine ownership of the islands within 20 years.
       
Argentina has tried to deter ships from traveling to the Falklands, banning Falklands-flagged ships and other vessels involved in trade with the islands from stopping at its ports.
       
On Wednesday Timerman vowed to take legal action to stop energy firms from exploring for oil and gas around the islands, accusing them of stealing Argentine resources and not being capable of guarding against accidental oil spills.
       
"We will continue the legal action against the oil companies who are doing hydrocarbon-related exploration activities in the south Atlantic, because they are stealing part of the natural resources of Argentina,'' he said.

Argentine hostility has not deterred companies and the islands are set to start producing their first oil in 2017. Rockhopper Exploration has formed a $1 billion partnership with Premier Oil to pump oil from its find north of the islands.

Last month, another British firm, Borders and Southern Petroleum, said its gas condensate discovery in the Falkland Islands was also commercially viable.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Video Dehydration Is Top Killer of Southern Arizona's Migrants

US Border Patrol's search and rescue unit launches 'blue blinking light of life program' - a series of poles strategically placed throughout desert that emit high-intensity blue light
More

United States Steps up Pressure on Guatemala over Labor Rights

Trade representative says Obama administration would push ahead with legal action under free trade agreement to make Guatemala meet international standards
More

Video US Attempts Crackdown on Trafficking Along Southern Border

Nogales, Arizona, notoriously known as 'tunnel city,' used by traffickers to smuggle humans, narcotics into US and Border Patrol responds with new technologies
More

Video Arizona Non-Profit Helps Keep Dehydrated Migrants Alive

The Sonoran Desert, a common crossing point for illegal immigrants, is one of North America's hottest places
More

Colombian National Pleads Guilty to Killing of US Drug Agent

Andres Garcia entered plea of guilty at district court in southeastern state of Virginia; will be sentenced in December
More

Attack on Colombian Police Kills 7

Defense ministry vows to 'maintain and intensify' operations against armed groups, drug traffickers following the attack
More