Britain defends position on Falkland Islands
Thursday 25 February 2010
Britain and Argentina continued to lock horns over the Falkland Islands amid rising tensions about oil exploration.
Sir Mark Lyall Grant, UK permanent representative to the United Nations, last night insisted there was "no doubt" about British sovereignty over the islands as Argentina's foreign minister asked for UN help in resolving the dispute.
Jorge Taiana told reporters after the meeting with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that the UN chief was not happy to learn that the situation was worsening and was willing to continue his "good offices" mission.
Sir Mark said: "As British ministers have made clear, the UK has no doubt about its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands.
"This position is underpinned by the principle of self-determination as set out in the UN Charter.
"We are also clear that the Falkland Islands Government is entitled to develop a hydrocarbons industry within its waters, and we support this legitimate business in Falklands' territory."
The dispute stemmed from Britain allowing Desire Petroleum's Ocean Guardian to begin drilling 60 miles north of the islands after Argentina announced new shipping controls.
Defence Minister Bill Rammell said the Government would take "whatever steps are necessary" to protect the islands, which had a "legitimate right" to develop an oil industry within their waters.
Ocean Guardian was towed 8,000 miles from Scotland to the south Atlantic isles for the exploration.
Argentina formally objected to the move and tightened shipping regulations in the region.
Latin American and Caribbean nations backed Argentina's claim of sovereignty to the islands as the dispute gathered pace.
At the Rio Group summit of 32 countries hosted by Mexico, Argentina presented a statement quoting Mexican President Felipe Calderon as saying that "the heads of state represented here reaffirm their support for the legitimate rights of the republic of Argentina in the sovereignty dispute with Great Britain".
Argentinian president Cristina Fernandez ruled out any plans to try to keep the British boats or rigs out. "We do not believe in methods like blockades," she told reporters.
However in a statement to regional leaders in Cancun, Mexico she reiterated Argentina's claim to the islands and blamed the Foreign Office for fanning tensions.
Desire said the well is being drilled to an estimated target depth of about 3,500 metres (11,500 feet), and drilling operations are expected to take about 30 days.
The company said the rig is sitting "firmly inside UK waters".
Argentina claims the Falklands - known as Las Malvinas in Buenos Aires - are occupied by Britain illegally.
Argentina invaded the Falklands in 1982, before a UK taskforce made up of some 100 ships seized them back in a war which claimed the lives of 255 British servicemen and women and more than 600 Argentinians.
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
Earthworms rain down from skies over Norway, puzzling scientists
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a white stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...