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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

New Brazil Poll Shows Silva Beating Rousseff in Runoff

Outcome seemed unimaginable just a few weeks ago; would put an end to 12 years of Workers' Party rule
More

Argentina Desires Deal Grouping All Holdout Investors Together

A deal is now not seen likely before next year's October presidential election, in which Fernandez cannot run
More

Hurricane Cristobal Kills Four, Moves Toward Bermuda

Storm is not expected to threaten US, but could cause deadly surf and rip currents from Florida to North Carolina
More

Peru's Congress Narrowly OKs Humala's New Cabinet on 3rd Vote

Lawmakers ratify president's embattled cabinet after ruling party offers to suspend rule requiring independent workers to pay into a pension program
More

Brazil's Deadly Prison Riot Ends

Officials say two inmates were beheaded during the Cascavel riot; two others were thrown to their deaths from the roof, and police are investigating how a fifth inmate died
More

Amid Slowdown, Chileans Adjust to New Economic Reality

Most economists now predict overall growth in country's economy of between 2.0 and 2.5 percent this year, down from 4.1 percent in 2013
More