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Mon Mar 28, 2016, 10:07 AM

UN expands Argentine sovereignty over maritime area [View all]

Source: Buenos Aires Herald

The United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) ratified a report presented by the Argentine Foreign Ministry in 2009, which suggested Argentina be granted an extension of sovereignty over the South Atlantic to 350 miles from Argentine shores (from the current 200 miles). The country has been granted status as the “coastal state” and, as such, gained rights to exploit its natural resources — a crucial potential benefit for the country.

“We are reaffirming our sovereign rights over the resources of our continental shelf: minerals, hydrocarbons and sedentary species,” Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra said following the announcement of the CLCS resolution yesterday. She added details of the UN Commission’s approval of Argentina’s 2009 proposal and revealed that its approval had been unanimous.

The ratification of Argentina’s 2009 proposal expanded the country’s sovereign territory by some 1.7 million km² (650,000 mi²) and represents a 35% increase in the offshore continental shelf area regarded as sovereign Argentina territory. The country gains “sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting natural resources,” on the continental shelf according to the 1958 CLCS Convention.

The announcement heralded a boost to the government’s commitment to Argentine territorial claims in the South Atlantic Ocean, including that over the Falklnads/Malvinas Islands claimed by Argentina but currently under British protection. However, while the UN has repeatedly sided with Argentina’s demands for negotiations over the islands rebuffed by the UK government, the new CLCS report does not extend approval of Argentina’s claimed sovereignty over the islands themselves, occupied by the UK since 1833.

Rather, the announcement extends Argentina’s maritime sovereign territory by some 350 miles off the east coast and into the Atlantic Ocean in line with the outer limits of the continental shelf. It also removes the 1958 Convention guidelines of a 200-meter depth limitation on sovereignty over continental shelf territories, opening the door to potential offshore exploitation of natural resources by Argentine interests. Currently two large Anglo-American corporations, Premier Oil and Falklands Oil and Gas, have a hegemony over fossil fuel exploitation in the seas surrounding the Malvinas Islands.

Read more: http://buenosairesherald.com/article/211485/un-expands-argentine-sovereignty-over-maritime-space

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