Argentina had to back step and apologize to Chile following on statements that the Magellan Strait and the Drake Passage, were “shared spaces”, and which “both countries jointly explored, studied and controlled”.
It was a mistake and ambassador Rafael Bielsa has already spoken to the Chilean foreign ministry, explaining that the national defense policy guidelines would be redrafted. It's a demilitarized zone, and there are no joint military or patrolling activities in the area, Argentine foreign affairs minister Felipe Solá was quoted.
In effect in a National Defense Policy guidelines to the Argentine Armed Forces, President Fernandez said that the two areas mentioned were a shared space” with Chile and the two countries jointly explored and controlled.
When the guidelines became public the Chilean foreign ministry immediately responded to Argentina, the Magellan strait, including its two shores are Chilean sovereign territory in conformity with the 1881 Treaty, which was reiterated in the 1984 Peace and Friendship Treaty, thus Chile rejects the Argentine National Defense guidelines outlined about an alleged joint control since it has no legal support and is not in accordance with what is established in the applied treaties.
In Argentina off the record, in diplomatic circles the gaffe was attributed to a hasty and not too happy drafting of the guidelines, although there was a mention to the alleged pressure from certain political groups in Chile.
One of the shared spaces which is vital to continue strengthening is the joint exploration, study and control of the Magellan Strait and the Drake Passage, strategic spaces both as natural navigation lanes between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and because they are privileged access points to the Antarctic continent, said the national defense guideline which president Fernandez has promised to redraft.
Likewise, it is of the upmost importance to generate a cooperative proximity with Chile and Bolivia in the defense and exploitation of the lithium deposits in the so called Lithium Triangle, add the Argentine defense guidelines.
The Chilean note says that the government of President Sebastián Piñera, values and coincides with the guidelines when referred to the successful process of confidence building between both countries, which has enabled to advance, since the 1984 Peace and Friendship treaty was subscribed in securing bilateral relations, generating a raft of dialogue and cooperation stances.
The 1984 treaty was the result of the mediation of then Pope John Paul II and the plebiscite implemented by Argentine ex president Raul Alfonsin.
As to the Drake Passage, and the strategic evaluation of the regional scenario, the Chilean letter also points out that there is no such joint control and in conformity with the Law of the Sea, Chile will continue to exercise all its resulting sovereign rights, as well as the liberties acknowledged by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea”. And last but not least Chile ratifies in the letter that it does not recognize the boundaries of the extended continental shelf which Argentina outlines in 2009, during the first government of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.