UK says council committee decision does not affect sovereignty. The dispute over the British Isles caused 74-day war in 1982.
Written by Celso P. Santos exclusively for SouthFront; Edited by Yoana
A United Nations decision extends the limit of the Argentine continental shelf, leaving within its territory the Falkland Islands (Malvinas calls by Argentina).
The UN decision was announced on March 28. the Argentine Foreign Ministry served a petition submitted by Argentina in 2009. With the backing of the United Nations, the country includes 1.7 million square kilometers and increases by 35% its current surface.
According to the Argentine daily Clarín, a Cameron’s spokesman said that the British government has not received any official report on the matter and stressed that the UN commission “is just an advice organ.”
“It is important to note that it is a council committee, which makes recommendations that are not legally binding. This committee has no jurisdiction over sovereignty issues,” the British statement, which adds that “the important thing is what think the residents of Falkland Islands. They made it clear they want to be a British territory and we support their right to determine their future. ”
Also according to Clarín, the message said that “one of the committees examined the issue of maritime territory in dispute. We have not received the report. We should not hurry. There is speculation that the report came from Argentina. We must wait one that will come from the UN commission.”
Mercosur supports Argentina
“The Falkland Islands are within the Argentine continental shelf,” said Jorge Taiana on March 28, current president of the Parlasur (Mercosur Parliament) and former chancellor of President Cristina Kirchner in 2009, when the request was presented to the United Nations.
According to AFP, Taiana said that “according to the Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Falkland Islands are Argentine. Now, Argentina has sovereign rights over the seabed, hydrocarbon exploration and on animals”, former Chancellor proclaimed.
The Falkland Islands are the subject of a long sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom. In 1982, troops of the Argentine military dictatorship returned to the islands, beginning a war that lasted 74 days and ended with the British victory. The conflict took the lives of 648 Argentines and 255 British.
In 2013, almost all 3000 inhabitants of the Malvinas voted in favor of the British sovereignty in the held referendum.
Search for black gold
The discovery in 1998 of oil resources in the waters of the Falkland Islands increased the tension between the United Kingdom and Argentina, but the threats of the South American nation does not seem to discourage British companies, which continue its exploration campaigns.
30 years ago, the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, horrified by the war between the two countries for the possession of the archipelago, described the dispute as “a fight between two bald for a comb.”
Since then, the discovery of oil transformed this barren archipelago in an important economic asset. “After fishing, oil has become a bone of contention between the two countries,” said Victor Bulmer-Thomas, a researcher of international relations institute Chatham House.
In 1998, the first drilling – carried out mainly by the Anglo-Dutch giant Shell – revealed the presence of hydrocarbons off the coast of the Falklands. In 2010, Rockhopper has identified a significant hydrocarbon reserves in the field of Sea Lion in the northern basin. The company expects to start commercial operation in 2016.
“We already know that Sea Lion approaches in size of the largest North Sea field”, with recoverable reserves of 450 million barrels, said a recent study by consultant Edison Investment Research.
According to projections of the oil companies, the southern basin of the Falklands may have reserves of almost 8 billion barrels in the area. For comparison, the proven reserves of the United Kingdom (mainly in the North Sea) are currently 3 billion barrels.
Starting from the estimate of 8.3 billion barrels, the oil resources of the Falklands could generate $ 180 billion in taxes to local government throughout the operation, said Edison Investment Research.
Economic studies as the one above and political interests are the reasons that explain why Buenos Aires continues to fight for the sovereignty of these islands.