Argentina has declared that it is taking control over all shipping between its coast and the Falklands, in effect awarding itself the power to blockade the disputed islands.
According to a decree issued by President Kirchner last night, all ships sailing through the waters claimed by Argentina must hold a permit. The measure seems likely to deepen a row over conflicting claims to oil beds lying inside the Falkland Islands’ territorial waters.
Argentina still claims sovereignty over the islands it calls “Las Malvinas” nearly three decades after the end of the Falklands conflict in which more than 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 this month over plans to begin offshore drilling near the islands.
Yesterday’s decree amounts to an Argentine move to control all traffic from South America towards the islands, including an oil rig due to ar- rive today and start drilling 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,” Aníbal Fernández, the Cabinet chief, said.
He added that the decree would force all ships bound for the islands or travelling through waters claimed by Argentina to obtain the new permit. To read full London Times story — Go Here Now.
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