CFK: ‘We will keep working for our rights in Malvinas‘ (Buenos Aires Herald)

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner defended her decision to place stronger controls on navigation and shipping within the Malvinas Islands and called on the United Nations to force the United Kingdom to come through on negotiations over the sovereignty of that territory.

During a rally held in the Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Merlo, the president said that the United Kingdom has “systematically misunderstood” the UN resolutions and that “they have rejected the idea of sitting down” for negotiation.

Fernández de Kirchner said that she will insist “one thousand and one times for the international rights” to be respected, adding that “I am telling all Argentines that we will keep working for our rights in Malvinas.”

Thus, the president defended her decision to impede ships from any nationality to operate within the ports in Malvinas Islands, Georgias and Sandwich del Sur and the continent without previous governmental authorization.

The official strategy consists of impeding the exploitation of possible hydrocarbon resources within the islands at the hands of Great Britain, announced on the brink of an exploratory British mission.

An Act Of War?

Mrs Fernández: it is necessary to defend our natural resources

Argentina grants itself power to blockade Falkland Islands

Times Online – Catherine Philp, Diplomatic Correspondent

Argentina announced today it would to take control over all shipping between its coast and the Falkand Islands, effectively awarding itself the power to blockade the disputed British territory.

The announcement that all boats sailing through the waters claimed by Argentina must hold a government permit looks set to deepen a row over conflicting claims to oil beds lying inside the Falklands’ waters.

Argentina still claims sovereignty over the islands it knows as “Las Malvinas,” nearly three decades after the end of the Falklands War in which over 1,000 people died.

Tensions over the islands remained buried until the discovery of potentially rich energy reserves in the Falklands seabed. Argentina protested to Britain earlier this month over plans to begin offshore exploration drilling near the remote islands.

Today’s announcement amounts to an Argentinian move to control all traffic from South America towards the islands, including an oil rig due to begin drilling by early next year.

“Any boat that wants to travel between ports on the Argentine mainland to the Islas Malvinas, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands … must first ask for permission from the Argentine government,” Anibal Fernandez, the Argentinian cabinet chief said.

He said a presidential decree would force all ships bound for the islands or traveling through waters claimed by Argentina to secure the new permit.

Background (From Wikipedia)

The Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas/Guerra del Atlántico Sur), also called the Falklands Conflict/Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom (UK) over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The Falkland Islands consist of two large and many small islands in the South Atlantic Ocean east of Argentina; their name and sovereignty over them have long been disputed.

The Falklands War started on Friday, 2 April 1982 with the Argentine invasion and occupation of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, and ended with the Argentine surrender on 14 June 1982. The war lasted 74 days, and resulted in the deaths of 255 British and 649 Argentine soldiers, sailors, and airmen, and three civilian Falklanders. It is the most recent conflict to be fought by the UK without any allied states and the only Argentine war since the 1880s.

The conflict was the result of a protracted diplomatic confrontation regarding the sovereignty of the islands. Neither state officially declared war and the fighting was largely limited to the territories under dispute and the South Atlantic. The initial invasion was characterised by Argentina as the re-occupation of its own territory, and by the UK as an invasion of a British dependent territory.

Britain launched a naval task force to engage the Argentine Navy and Argentine Air Force, and retake the islands by amphibious assault. The British eventually prevailed and at the end of combat operations on 14 June the islands remained under British control. However, as of 2010 and as it has since the 19th century, Argentina shows no sign of relinquishing its claim. The claim remains in the Argentine constitution after its reformation in 1994.

The political effects of the war were strong in both countries. A wave of patriotic sentiment swept through both: the Argentine loss prompted even larger protests against the ruling military government, which hastened its downfall; in the United Kingdom, the government of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was bolstered. It helped Thatcher’s government to victory in the 1983 general election, which prior to the war was seen as by no means certain. The war has played an important role in the culture of both countries, and has been the subject of several books, films, and songs. The cultural and political weight of the conflict has had less effect on the British public than on that of Argentina, where the war is still a topic of discussion.

Key facts: The Falklands War (BBC)

On 2 April 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, a remote UK colony in the South Atlantic. The move led to a brief, but bitter war.

Argentina’s military junta hoped to restore its support at a time of economic crisis, by reclaiming sovereignty of the islands. It said it had inherited them from Spain in the 1800s and they were close to South America.

The UK, which had ruled the islands for 150 years, quickly chose to fight. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said the 1,800 Falklanders were “of British tradition and stock”. A task force was sent to reclaim the islands, 8,000 miles away.

In the fighting that followed, 655 Argentine and 255 British servicemen lost their lives, as did three Falkland Islanders.

The battle for the Falklands began with the declaration of a 200-mile exclusion zone around the islands.

The UK task force had 28,000 troops and over 100 ships, in total. Argentina had 12,000 mainly conscripted soldiers on the Falklands and about 40 vessels. Its superior air power was limited by the islands’ remoteness.

South Georgia was re-taken on 25 April and on 1 May the RAF launched its first aerial assault, on Stanley’s airport.

The first major loss of life came on 2 May with the sinking of the Argentine cruiser, General Belgrano, and the loss of 368 crew. Two days later, the British destroyer, HMS Sheffield, was hit by an Exocet missile and sank with the loss of 20 crew.

Seven weeks after the Argentines invaded, the first major British troop landing began at San Carlos on 21 May. The plan was to launch attacks from there on Goose Green and Stanley.

The battle for Goose Green lasted a day and night and was fiercely fought, with many dead. British troops were hugely outnumbered but ultimately successful.

Victory meant British forces were clear to break out of San Carlos and begin the long march east towards Stanley. Carrying 120lb packs on their backs, the troops fought their way across the peat bogs of East Falkland before mounting their final attack on the last line of Argentine defence, the high ground around Stanley.

With their defences breached, the Argentines surrendered. On 14 June troops marched into Stanley and the town was liberated.

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