The United Kingdom formally protested on Monday to Argentina about the passing of an amendment to the hydrocarbons bill which seeks to criminalize individuals or companies with involved in hydrocarbons activities in Falkland Islands waters, insisting that Argentine law does not apply to the Falklands and the Islanders right to develop their hydrocarbons sector.
The formal protest was done by FCO Director for the Americas, Kate Smith, to the Argentine Chargé, Oscar Horacio Galli, and refers to an amendment to the Hydrocarbons Law No 26.659, revealed a Foreign Office spokesperson.
“Argentine domestic law does not apply to the Falkland Islands, so this is a baseless gesture intended to deter legitimate commercial activity. We are confident it will not succeed. It is shameful that Argentina is once again adopting bullying tactics in an attempt to strangle the Falkland Islands economy, said the FCO.
“The British Government fully supports the rights of the Falkland Islanders to develop their hydrocarbons sector for their economic benefit. This right is an integral part of their right of self-determination, which is expressly contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. All hydrocarbons activities on the continental shelf of the Falkland Islands are regulated by legislation of the Falkland Islands Government, in strict accordance with the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea.”
Last 27 November the Argentine Congress amended Hydrocarbons Law 26.659 introducing criminal definitions and punishments of up to 15 years in prison and fines equivalent to the value of 1.5 million barrels of oil for those engaging (directly or indirectly through a third party) in any type of hydrocarbon exploration, extraction, transportation and/or storage activities within the Argentine continental shelf without authorization by Argentine authorities.
The Falkland Islands Government has already firmly rejected the applicability of this law to its territory and waters