Argentina reaffirms sovereignty over Malvinas Islands

11:24, January 04, 2011      

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Argentina reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands Monday, 178 years after losing the disputed territory to Britain.

"Argentina once again reaffirms the imprescriptible sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime area," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The statement also denounced Britain's oil exploration near the archipelago, which Britain calls the Falkland Islands.P "The UK continues to perform unilateral activities in the area, including illegal activities to exploit natural resources and performing military exercises," it said.

Those actions constitute "a violation to the sailing security norms laid by the International Maritime Organization," the statement said.

The statement said British forces "occupied" the archipelago on Jan. 3, 1833 and "evacuated by force its inhabitants and the Argentine authorities, which were legitimately established there."

In 1982, Argentina's military junta attempted to take back the islands by force, prompting a short but bloody war that left 649 Argentine and 255 British troops dead.

When the two countries mended ties in 1990, they agreed to put aside the issue of Malvinas sovereignty, agreeing only to handle "practical" issues.

But tensions escalated last year over Britain's oil exploration and carrying out of military tests in the disputed archipelago.

The ministry dismissed London's move as an obstacle to the development of ties between the two countries and to the provisional bilateral understanding reached after the war.

Source: Xinhua

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