Argentine authorities have threatened oil businesses operating off the Falkland Island with fines, confiscation and jail sentences for their executives, BBC News has reported. Argentina’s London embassy announced that the new laws had been passed by the country’s congress in an effort to clamp down on exploration that, it claims, is in breach of UN decisions. However, the UK’s Foreign Office has maintained that the oil activities were legitimately controlled by the Falkland’s government.
According to Argentina, the new legislation provides for:
- prison sentences for the duration of up to 15 years;
- fines equivalent to the value of 1.5 million barrels of oil;
- the banning of individuals and companies from operating in Argentina;
- and the confiscation of equipment and any hydrocarbons that would have been illegally extracted.
The Argentine Embassy said in a statement:
“The Argentine government has protested against and rejected all of the United Kingdom’s attempts to promote and authorize such hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities in the area of the Argentine continental shelf.
“These attempts are manifestly contrary to Resolution 31/49 of the United Nations General Assembly, which requires the UK and Argentina to refrain from taking decisions that would imply introducing unilateral modifications into the situation of the Malvinas Islands while the sovereignty dispute between the two countries is still pending.”
A Foreign Office spokesman said:
“Hydrocarbons activities by any company operating on the continental shelf of the Falkland Islands are regulated by legislation of the Falkland Islands government, in strict accordance with the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea.
“As such these activities are wholly legitimate and legal. The UK government unequivocally supports the right of the Falkland Islanders to develop their natural resources for their own economic benefit.
“This right is an integral part of their right of self-determination, which is expressly contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
“Argentine domestic law does not apply to the Falkland Islands or South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which are UK overseas territories.”
The UK and Argentina have a long running dispute over the islands. In a referendum in March this year, Falkland Islanders decided by 1,513 votes to three to remain a UK overseas territory.
You can find the original article at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25149096
- Argentine threat over Falklands oil (bbc.co.uk)
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