Argentina demands talk over oil with UK

Argentina has ruled out military action to reassert its sovereignty claims over the Falkland Islands but insisted on negotiations with Britain over oil exploration in disputed territorial waters, a Buenos Aires minister has said.

Residents of the islands Argentina occupied for two months in 1982 did not need to worry about another war, but should clearly understand that the South American nation would not give up its claims to the islands it calls Las Malvinas, said deputy foreign minister Victorio Taccetti.

With oil and gas exploration about to begin in the Falklands, Argentine president Cristina Fernandez has decreed that any boat travelling to or from the islands must get prior permission from her country. But Britain dismissed the decree, telling ships to ignore her.

Mr Taccetti told FM Milenium radio the main objective was to negotiate Buenos Aires’ sovereignty claims with Britain, which defeated Argentina in 1982 in the brief but bloody Falklands War.

Foreign minister Jorge Taiana will ask his counterparts at the Rio Group summit in Cancun, Mexico, next week to condemn what he called Britain’s “unilateral and illegal” exploration in the islands.

He will then travel to the US for an audience on the same theme with United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

Left-wing Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez on Friday pledged his support for Argentina, saying Britain was “violating international law”.

“Get out of there, give the Malvinas back to the Argentine people. Enough already with the empire,” he said.

Source: Press Association

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