Falklands: full support for Argentina from Latinamerican and Caribbean leaders
Argentine President Cristina Kirchner said on Monday Latin American and Caribbean leaders backed her objections to oil exploration in the disputed Falkland Islands as drilling of the first well began on Monday.
“There continues to be systematic violation of international law that should be respected by all countries” Mrs Kirchner told the opening session of the Rio Group regional summit near the Mexican resort town of Playa del Carmen.
“In the name of our government and in the name of my people I am grateful for the support this meeting has given to our demands” Mrs. Kirchner said.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon said in the closed-door meetings the group had approved a document supporting Argentina in the territorial dispute, according to Argentine diplomatic sources.
In her opening speech Cristina Kirchner also assured that “Argentina is to insist on claiming for Malvinas Islands“ within a democratic and institutional framework. ”We are planning to use up all existing resolutions belonging to our national law in order to affirm our sovereignty on the Islands.“
Mrs. Kirchner then pointed out that the setting of a platform for oil search in the Malvinas Islands ”is a violation of all United Nation’s previous dispositions“.
Escalating the dispute last week Argentina formally objected to British companies’ exploratory drilling round in Falklands’ waters and signed decree 256 which requires all vessels sailing between Argentine mainland and the Islands or crossing Argentine waters heading for the Islands, to obtain a permit from Argentine authorities.
However Mrs. Kirchner said Argentina would not consider more serious measures like shipping blockades. ”Argentina will not take any step that is not framed in international law“.
Meantime Desire Petroleum announced in the London Stock Exchange it broke ground at a well on its offshore ”Liz“ prospect, north of the Falklands, which could contain up to 400 million barrels, although there is a possibility the exploration will recover nothing.
”Drilling operations are expected to take approximately 30 days and a further announcement will be made once drilling is completed,“ it said. ”Liz“ is the first of up to 10 wells to be drilled by British companies in the coming months.
Earlier in the day Argentina’s Foreign minister Jorge Taiana said he had secured support from the 33 Latin American and Caribbean nations attending a regional summit in Mexico to issue a declaration on the Falklands. The list includes some Caribbean islands members of the British Commonwealth.
“We’re making solid progress and heading towards a unified continental position over the historical claims of sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands”, said Taiana.
Victorio Taccetti, Argentina’s deputy foreign minister, said: ”We are confident that Britain will understand that it behooves them to negotiate with Argentina and not to be in opposition to a consensus within the international community”.
Britain maintains that Islanders have the right to self-determination and to develop an oil industry and says the exploration is within the law.
On Wednesday Taiana will hold talks in New York tomorrow with Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, to try to increase international pressure on Britain.
“The central issue is the sovereignty issue. If we can talk about that, then we can discuss the issue of exploitation of [oil and gas] reserves,” said Taccetti.