Wed, Mar 30, 2016 - Page 7 News List

Argentina hails UN saying Falklands is part of its territory

AP, BUENOS AIRES

Argentina’s government on Monday celebrated a decision by a UN commission expanding its maritime territory in the South Atlantic Ocean by 35 percent to include the disputed Falkland Islands and beyond.

The Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship said that its waters had increased by 1.7 million square kilometers and the decision would be critical in its dispute with Britain over the islands. Argentina lost a brief, bloody war in 1982 against Britain after Argentine troops seized the South Atlantic archipelago that Latin Americans call the Malvinas.

The UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf sided with Argentina earlier this month, ratifying the country’s 2009 report fixing the limit of its territory at 322km to 563km from its coast.

“This is a historic occasion for Argentina, because we’ve made a huge leap in the demarcation of the exterior limit of our continental shelf,” Argentine Minister of Foreign Affairs Susana Malcorra said. “This reaffirms our sovereignty rights over the resources of our continental shelf.”

Oil exploration is already pumping millions of dollars into the Falkland Islands economy. Many islanders remain concerned about Argentina’s claim, as well as the potential for problems from rapid change brought by the new industry.

The UN commission’s finding included the caveat that there is an unresolved diplomatic dispute between Argentina and Britain over the islands.

The Falklands are internally self-governing, but Britain is responsible for its defense and foreign affairs. The British government says islanders cannot be forced to accept Argentine sovereignty against their will.

The Falkland Islands government on Monday said that it is seeking clarification from the British government on “what, if any, decisions have been made, and what implications there may be” for the territory in relation to the UN ruling.

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