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Argentina rejects UK complaints, demands Falklands’ sovereignty talks

Tuesday, May 25th 2010 - 05:59 UTC
Full article 23 comments
Ambassador Shan Morgan Ambassador Shan Morgan

Argentina rejected Monday Britain’s complaints about maritime controls in the South Atlantic and again condemned the “unilateral and illegitimate acts” of the UK regarding hydrocarbons exploitation in the continental shelf of the Malvinas/Falklands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.

The Argentine government note was handed to Britain’s ambassador in Buenos Aires Shan Morgan by Foreign Affairs ministry cabinet chief ambassador Alberto D’Alotto at the Palacio San Martín.

Britain had complained that Argentine Presidential Decree 256/2010 and Disposition 14/2010 which state all vessels sailing to and from Argentina, the Falklands, South Georgia and South Sandwich islands must request a previous authorization from the Argentine government “are not complaint with International Law including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea” and other international treaties signed by the Argentine government.

Argentina replied that those norms regulate coastal maritime traffic between ports in Argentine territory and therefore comply with the Law of the Sea. Furthermore the note reaffirms Argentine sovereignty over the disputed insular territories and adjacent maritime spaces, and recalls that all Argentine democratic governments have favoured talks with Britain to reach a peaceful and fair solution to the sovereignty dispute over the Falklands/Malvinas Islands, and again invites the new British government to resume talks.

In the note Argentina severely condemns the current oil exploration round in Falklands’ waters, organized by the local Falklands government and fully supported by London.

“Argentina reiterates its condemnation of unilateral and illegitimate acts undertaken by the United Kingdom regarding hydrocarbons exploitation in the continental platform of the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, which are contrary to International Law and United Nations pronouncements”•

The diplomatic exchange between Argentina and Britain has been escalating since the announcement of the launching of the oil exploration round last February.

However more than the diplomatic formality of Monday’s summoning of Ambassador Morgan, are the remarks from Deputy Foreign Affairs minister Victorio Tacetti and the interpretation of the escalation by Buenos Aires daily La Nacion, which historically has had close links with Argentina’s diplomacy.

Tacetti who had anticipated that a reply to last week’s UK note verbale was “on the way” earlier in the day was particularly critical of Britain’s attitude regarding oil exploration.

“The United Kingdom seems to believe that the law can only be applied to others and not to them. We want the British government to respond for the illegal activities that are being conducted in Malvinas.”

Tacetti explained that the formal invitation sent to Ambassador Morgan “was delivered out of necessity as the British government formally complained before our diplomatic representatives in London, believing that legal codes do not apply to them”.

“The reply is part of our strategy of standing defence of our national interests and rejection of groundless British pretensions; Britain’s position is based on shear force and ours in international law” he underlined.

Tacetti went further and remarked that “those living in Malvinas were not colonized; they were sent by the UK, thus displacing the original inhabitants by the use of force”.

With Argentine bi-centennial celebrations very much in mind, Tacetti also complained that for the past 200 years “Argentines have not been allowed to live in Malvinas, at some point only teachers and labourers were allowed to lead some activities. Such a thing means that the UK has been constantly violating the people's universal right to move freely and settle wherever they consider best”.

Buenos Aires daily La Nacion quoting reliable ministerial sources says that Argetnine diplomacy is feeling “a slight but substantial change” in the strategy of the new British government under PM David Cameron, probably because of “the potential hydrocarbons reserves in the area”.

The note verbale from the Foreign Office turned on an alarm bell, an event the Argentine government tried to downplay its impact, but the fact is “the UK is showing a more pro-active policy towards the Falklands/Malvinas” at a time when expectations of hydrocarbons commercial reserves are increasing.

Meantime in Washington US Secretary of State Spokesperson Philip Crowley said the US was not considering any mediator role in the Falklands dispute. “This is a matter for Argentina and the UK. At this moment we for see no role for the US unless both sides so request it”.

Top Comments

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  • Rufus

    “This is a matter for Argentina and the UK. At this moment we for see no role for the US unless both sides so request it”

    - Which won't happen. The UK can't negotiate soverignty on behalf of the Falkland Islands, not won't but can't. There's a treaty between the democratically elected government of the UK and the democratically elected government of the Falkland Islands, the UK can act on behalf of the islands in terms of foreign relations and defence only.

    The difference between this announcement from the US State Department and the one from Hillary Clinton is that Colonel Crowley (ret) is an expert whereas she is a politician. They know that the UK can't act on FI's behalf in this issue and are using it as an easy way of washing their hands of the whole business without too much international embarrasment.

    May 25th, 2010 - 07:05 am 0
  • LegionNi

    Any attempt by Argentine forces to intercept shipping in UK territorial waters around the Falklands and other islands should be dealt with by the Royal Navy. Any Argentine crew trying to enforce the illegal Argentine decree should be tried for Piracy in a court either in the Falklands itseld or in the UK.

    May 25th, 2010 - 07:41 am 0
  • Idlehands

    At a guess I think this current situation will reach a crescendo to roughly coincide with the next presidential election in Argentina. Will the generally disliked Kirchner be able to swing the Argentine vote because she has ranted the loudest over the Falkland Islands issue?

    May 25th, 2010 - 08:36 am 0
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