Argentina’s attempts to make life difficult for Falkland Islanders are “illegal”, says the UK government.
The latest move has been a threat of legal action against companies exploring for oil in the islands. Its foreign minister, Hector Timerman, promised “administrative, civil and criminal” penalties, claiming Falklands oil belongs to Argentina.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “These latest attempts to damage the economic livelihoods of the Falkland Islands people regrettably reflect a pattern of behaviour by the Argentine government.
“From harassing Falklands shipping to threatening the islanders’ air links with Chile, Argentina’s efforts to intimidate the Falklands are illegal, unbecoming and wholly counter-productive.
“We are studying Argentina’s remarks carefully and will work closely with any company potentially affected to ensure that the practical implications for them are as few as possible.”
“The British government supports the right of the Falkland Islanders to develop their own natural resources for their own economic benefit. The Falkland Islands Government is, as always, entitled to develop both fisheries and hydrocarbons industries within its own waters, without interference from Argentina.”
Prime Minister David Cameron says he has discussed rising tensions over sovereignty with President Barack Obama, and that the US clearly supports keeping things as they are.
An atmospheric set of pictures of the Falkland Islands, taken by Reuters photographer Marcos Brindicci, appears on a photoblog, here. Besides the usual reflections on the 1982 war, there’s a shot of island Willy Bowles, helping school children across the road in Stanley.