Foreign minister Susana Malcorra is scheduled to officially announce on Monday the external limit of Argentina's continental shelf based on a unanimous decision from the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, (dependent from the Oceans and Law of the Sea), which adds to Argentina's shelf 1.7 million square kilometers, apparently confirming areas surrounding the Falklands/Malvinas, other South Atlantic islands and the Antarctica Argentine sector.
This means Argentina's shelf will increase 1.7m sq km from its current 4.8m sq km, and refers to the area from the 200 miles to the shelf slope. This represents a 35% expansion of its continental shelf.
According to reports in the Argentine media, CLCS on its 40th plenary session of last March 11, made public it had finally adopted the presentation on the shelf request, which was made back in 2009.
We're reaffirming our sovereignty rights over the resources from our continental shelf, minerals, hydrocarbons and sedentary species, Ms Malcorra was quoted in anticipation of Monday's official announcement at the San Martin Palace.
Attending the event will be Deputy minister Carlos Foradori, president of National Committee on the limit of the Argentine continental platform, COPLA, officers from the Navy and Coast Guard plus lawmakers.
The demarcation of the exterior limit of the continental shelf constitutes a clear example of a State policy in which Argentina has worked professionally during twenty years with the purpose of reaffirming our presence, conservation of our resources and reaffirming our sovereignty rights over a zone politically, economically and strategically so important in the South Atlantic, added Ms Malcorra.
This acknowledgement means the UN accept there is a dispute over the South Atlantic islands, and is another diplomatic victory for Argentina said Deputy minister Foradori.
However, Argentina will not exercise these rights over territories and maritime spaces which the United Kingdom is administrating unilaterally since 1833.
Foradori added that this is not a sovereignty dispute, but the creation of national sovereignty quietly and in peace, with all Argentines working in a team, for years, under different governments with a common objective. It was the generation of a policy by design and planning, and not by accident.
The shelf refers to the sea floor and subsoil from the 200 miles maritime zone up to the natural extension of the continental territory with a 350 miles limit.
The UN CLCS is a scientific commission made up of 21 international experts and in the case of Argentina's presentation the decision was unanimous.
The committee has acknowledged Argentina's presentation as a leading case since it was the first country to appeal to all elements allowed under current rules in a favorable way for the country, commented Argentina's COPLA which depends from the Foreign ministry.
Argentina made the official presentation in 2009, under the government of ex president Cristina Fernandez, but the task took off in 1995, under president Carlos Menem and foreign minister Guido Di Tella and involved twelve scientific cruises collecting data to make the presentation. In 1997 the COPLA commission was created.
The Argentine effort according to COPLA involved 900.00 man/hours and 195.700 km of seismic, bathymetric, magnetic and gravimetric surveying.
So far the UN CLCS has received 77 country presentations and four review presentations since the recommendations were not accepted. Likewise 47 were preliminary, with countries anticipating posterior full presentations, and recommendations have been adopted in 22 cases and in 2 review cases.