The Falkland Islands Government Director of Mineral Resources today responded calmly to the Argentine Foreign Affairs vehement reaction to the UK submission in respect of its extended continental shelf claim around the Falkland Islands.
Mrs Phyllis Rendell said, “Both Argentina and Britain as members of the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf were obligated to make any such claims by May 13, 2009. If the claims were not submitted the UN could have allocated that area of seabed to absolutely any country in the world.
“As it happens the areas claimed by Argentina and Britain are overlapping thus the UN Commission will take no action (the commission will not address disputed claims) so in essence, all we have done is stop the clock.”
The claim covers an area of about 1.2 million sq km (463,300 square miles) and Argentina filed its own claim with the U.N. commission last month. Under the U.N. Convention of the Law of the Sea, coastal states may explore and exploit the natural resources of their continental shelf for up to 200 nautical miles from shore. They can apply to extend that outer limit to up to 350 nautical miles in certain circumstances.
Falkland Islands Government Legislative Assembly Member Ian Hansen commented, “Argentina’s most energetic rejection of the UK claim isn’t in any way a surprise to the Falkland Islands Government. As long as there’s a sovereignty dispute, then there can be no further discussion on continental shelf issues, so Argentina’s reaction presents no cause for concern.”
Argentine Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Taiana said on Monday, “British insistence in pretending to arrogate competence over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and adjoining maritime spaces is unacceptable and inadmissible because the exercise of such competence belongs only to the sovereign state of the Argentine Republic.”
By Lisa Johnson – SeAled PR – Stanley