Argentina tests UK's resolve over Falklands with TWO new bills claiming Islands

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Argentina tests UK's resolve over Falklands with TWO new bills claiming Islands

And the news was welcomed by Daniel Filmus, Argentina's Secretary of Malvinas, Antarctica and South Atlantic of the Chancellery, who stressed the "

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And the news was welcomed by Daniel Filmus, Argentina’s Secretary of Malvinas, Antarctica and South Atlantic of the Chancellery, who stressed the “enormous importance” of making their ongoing claim to the archipelago, which it calls the Malvinas, “a true State policy”. Mr Fernandez, who was elected as the country’s leader last year, sent two bills which, in combination, set out plans to extend his country’s reach significantly.

The first bill creates a body entitled the National Council of Affairs Relating to the Malvinas, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime spaces.

The second aims to establish definitive outer limits of the continental shelf, beyond 200 miles.

In effect, it reaffirms Argentina’s presumed rights over the use of the seabed and subsoil of the continental shelf and its natural resources – minerals, hydrocarbons and animal species – and are likely a precursor to oil exploration projects in the region.

Alberto Fernandez

Alberto Fernandez, Argentina’s President (Image: GETTY)

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn was pictured next to Daniel Filmus in 2012 (Image: GETTY/NC)

The second aspect is also controversial, with neighbouring Chile writing to the United Nations to emphasise that it does not recognise the platform which Argentina is unilaterally laying claim to.

Reacting to the creation of the National Council of Affairs Mr Filmus, a keen admirer of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, told Argentinian broadcaster Telam: “It is of enormous importance that all parliamentary blocks agree that it is necessary that the Malvinas issue becomes a true State policy.”

Such a move created “plural space that designs and projects medium and long-term strategies” which would “sustain the sovereign claim with continuity and coherence in the coming times and thus be able to satisfactorily face the challenge of time”, Mr Filmus said.

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UK soldiers Falklands

UK soldiers in the Falklands in 1982 (Image: GETTY)

He added: “Located at the highest political level and plural in composition, the Council’s mission will be precisely to draw up and sustain State policies on this cause.

“It will be led by the President of the Nation himself and will be made up of political forces with parliamentary representation, notable academics and jurists, the province of Tierra del Fuego and former combatants.”

With respect to the second Bill, Mr Filmus also welcomed “general agreement on the importance of protecting our sovereign rights over the continental shelf, where there are resources that belong to the 44 million Argentines”.

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Simon Weston

Simon Weston backs the right of the Falkland Islanders to self-determination (Image: GETTY)

Falkland Islands

Argentina maintains its sovereignty claim over the Falklands (Image: GETTY)

He added: “The law on the outer limit of the Argentine Continental Shelf will help protect sovereign rights over the immeasurable resources of the sea bed and subsoil.

“The map that emerges from the project shows us an Argentina that, in the extension of its continental shelf, doubles its territory on the continent.”

Mr Filmus and Mr Corbyn were pictured together at a “Pro-Dialogue Conference” in 2012, which Mr Corbyn was the only UK MP to attend.

Falklands factfile

Falklands factfile (Image: Express)

Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands on April 2 1982, triggering a ten-week war which resulted in the deaths of 255 British servicemen and 649 Argentinians, as a result of which the task force dispatched by then-UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher emerged victorious.

However, Argentina has never relinquished its sovereignty claim.

British MPs including John Penrose and Andrew Rosindell have each floated the idea of making the Falklands, and other British overseas territories, full members of the UK – a move they argue would stop Argentina’s designs on the islands once and for all.

Falklands War veteran Simon Weston was supportive of the idea, telling Express.co.uk in February: “It stops any future Government from coming in and saying we’ll give it over to the Argentinians.

The Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands is a British Overseas Territory (Image: GETTY)

“If that’s what it takes to secure their futures, then I would support it.

“But I would support the islanders on any decision they make – if their decision is to become Argentinian then I would support that.

“Because it’s their right to self-determination and democracy to exercise, not something to dictate.”

Express.co.uk has asked the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for a response to the ratification of the legislation in Argentina.

(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)



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