British Ambassador in Buenos Aires Shan Morgan has been summoned for a meeting on Monday with Argentine Foreign Affairs minister Jorge Taiana to receive a formal reply notice to the escalating diplomatic exchange between the two countries over Falklands and other South Atlantic Islands sovereignty which Argentina claims.
The recently appointed British Prime Minister David Cameron since taking office this month has reiterated UK sovereignty over the Falklands and rejected through a note verbale an Argentine presidential decree and disposition, which imposes previous request of a formal authorization for shipping to and from Argentina, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands. The decree is to be implemented by the Argentine Coast Guard.
The meeting with Ambassador Morgan is scheduled for Monday afternoon. The invitation document was sent by the Foreign Ministry Cabinet Chief Alberto D'Alotto.
The administration of President Cristina Kirchner in reprisal for the launching last February of a “unilateral” oil exploration round in Falklands’ waters involving four British companies, signed Decree 256/2010 and Disposition 14/2010 which pretend to control shipping in the South Atlantic but which Britain pointed out “are not complaint with International Law including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea”.
Two of the companies have already drilled wells in the North Falkland basin and one of them Rockhopper Exploration announced it had discovered oil. The two others, one of them in partnership with the mining giant HP Billiton have announced similar drilling plans, to the south and east of the Falklands.
The exploration licences in Falklands’ waters have been issued by the Falklands government and the new British government has also reiterated that it is UK policy to encourage and support the development by the local elected government of its own hydrocarbons industry.
During last week's Mercosur and European Union leaders' summit, Mrs Kirchner had claimed the necessity of Great Britain to sit and discuss diplomatically the Falklands/Malvinas and other South Atlantic Islands sovereignty issue as has been repeatedly asked by the United Nations.
Likewise, London which has refused to hold talks said that the British government has no doubt about British sovereignty over the Falkland Islands and the surrounding coastal and maritime areas, --where the drillings are taking place—and specifically underlined that these are not within Argentina's jurisdiction. London affirms that the right to self determination is enshrined in the UN Charter and the people of the Falklands, in the free exercise of that right, have long decided to remain British.
The Argentine government argues that Decree 256 signed by Mrs Kirchner defends the interests of the Argentine people, and it looks to guarantee the protection of sovereignty and also that of all of its resources.
Argentine Deputy Foreign Affairs minister Victorio Tacetti last Friday had anticipated that a formal reply to the latest UK note verbale was “on the way”.
He added that oil drilling around the Islands “doesn't help (Argentine-UK) negotiations because if the Islands turn to be an income source, the British will defend them even more vehemently”.
Tacetti said that if defending the Falklands was only a matter of prestige for the British and it cost them money, “the discovery of oil further complicates the issue”.
However Deputy Foreign Minister Tacetti considered the British position to be “pragmatic, not ideological.”