Argentina urges Britain to heed UN call, discuss Malvinas dispute

11:18, March 19, 2010      

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Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana on Thursday urged Britain to heed the United Nations' (UN) call and start negotiating the dispute over the Malvinas Islands, also known as the Falklands.

The UN decision to call for negotiations "must be followed," Taiana said. "Certainly, a country member of the UN Security Council has more responsibilities."

Taiana met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last month in New York to seek UN help in settling the dispute. A readout issued later by Ban's spokesperson said Ban expressed satisfaction over Argentina's commitment to resolve its dispute with Britain over the islands in a peaceful manner.

Argentina and Britain have been at odds over the sovereignty of the islands for decades. Tensions between the two countries have been escalating since Britain announced an oil drilling plan in the waters off the disputed oil-rich islands last month.

The dispute over the ownership of the islands led to a 74-day war between the two countries in 1982, which ended in Argentina's defeat.

The Malvinas, or the Falklands as the British call them, are home to 3,000 people of British descent and are controlled by Britain. However,Argentina maintains they are part of its Tierra del Fuego province.

Argentina's claim to the disputed territory has been bolstered by the unanimous backing of 32 Latin American and Caribbean nations, including Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.

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