Argentina is planning to intensify its policy to claim sovereignty over the Falklands and other South Atlantic Islands with a road map that contemplates three immediate objectives, reinstate in the Organization of American States the claim, resurface the legal threat against oil companies operating in South Atlantic (Falklands) waters and put pressure on the European Union so that a post-Brexit trade agreement with the UK does not include the Falklands in the list of Overseas Territories.
This was outlined in a column published in Argentine news agency Infobae by Martin Dinatale, a political reporter who has solid knowledge of Argentine foreign policy affairs and has a special penchant for South Atlantic issues.
According to Dinatale this impulse has been boosted by the recent unanimous approval in Congress of two of three bills considered pillars for this strategy, one of them the so called catch-all National Council of Affairs relative to the Malvinas Islands, and the other extending the outer borders of Argentine continental shelf including the litigation area. To this must be added the passing by the UN Decolonization Committee, or C24, of a resolution calling on Argentina and UK to resume negotiations for a peaceful and definitive solution to the Falklands/Malvinas sovereignty controversy.
The third bill still to be passed refers to significant increases in the fines, --linked to the price of fuel-- imposed on vessels caught fishing illegally in South Atlantic waters
Foreign minister Felipe Solá said that the recovery of full sovereignty exercise over the Malvinas is a State policy and a strong feeling of the Argentine people, adding that the strategy is on the right track.
The C24 resolution was backed by all 29 members, and apparently some Caribbean and African members of the Commonwealth had to be convinced to back the proposal presented by Latin American countries in support of Argentina's claim, which appeals to Resolution 2065 of the UN General Assembly..
More specifically on the road map, Argentine diplomacy is aware that in the OAS, although it will count with Latin American alignment, it will be meeting with the strong positions of Canada and the US. Anyhow Argentina will, as in the good years of ex president Cristina Kirchner, appeal to all other possible international forae.
Parallel to this, a letter was sent to the EU Commissioner Joseph Borrell requesting that the Malvinas not be included in the post Brexit talks on a free trade accord with the UK. According to Dinatale the idea was 'endorsed' by the EU and will insist to London not to contemplate the Falklands in the trade accord, since it was a territory in dispute
Regarding oil in Falklands' waters the initiative is based on a 2015 criminal demand against companies operating in the area, which included impounding assets and locking up the heads of the companies if caught in Argentina.
Apparently the target is a consortium of companies in the process of contracting a semi submersible oil rig, operating to the north of the Falklands and which drilled at least six wells. The criminal demand was initiated against board members, managers and representatives from Rockhopper Exploration, Premier Oil, Falklands Oil & Gas Ltd, Noble Energy and Edison International SpA.
Last but not least, Dinatale mentions that in parallel to this advance for the recovery of the Falklands, Argentina had a gesture towards the Islanders since humanitarian flights between Chile and the Islands were not impeded.