The Argentine government is seeking to convert into law new demarcation lines extending beyond 200 miles for its continental platform, which will include the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands, subject of a long-standing sovereignty dispute with Britain, Foreign Minister Felipe Solá announced on Wednesday.
The new demarcation lines, proposed by Argentina in 2009 after over a decade of study, were "conceded by the technical commission of the United Nations in 2016," explained Solá.
"Now we’re going to transform them into a national law," he added.
"This is a second Argentina which belongs to us, inherent to Argentina proper, with 1.3 million square kilometres, obviously embracing the Malvinas, the Georgias, the [South] Sandwich islands and adjacent areas. Argentina has rights above and below the seabed and obviously over the waters," continued the minister.
"A great part of that platform has been usurped by the United Kingdom and that’s a conflict issue which motivates us to make this a law,” he detailed.
According to the minister, "establishing by law the publication of the coordinates of the Argentine continental platform will increase the legal security for granting concessions aimed at the exploration and exploitation of fossil fuels, minerals and sedentary species."
Two other bills presented seek to create a National Political Advisory Council on the Malvinas to trace policies of state regarding the islands and stiffen the sanctions against those who fish illegally in Argentine waters, an official communiqué pointed out.
The announcement was timed to commemorate the Day of the Affirmation of Argentine sovereignty over the Malvinas and other South Atlantic islands along with their waters last Wednesday.
President Alberto Fernández ratified via Twitter the "peaceful claims for the end of colonialism and the full exercise of sovereignty" over the Malvinas while a Foreign Ministry video insisted on "the necessity of renewing bilateral negotiations as soon as possible."
The Malvinas sovereignty dispute led to a 1982 war between Argentina and Britain lasting 74 days and costing almost 1,000 dead (649 on the Argentine side, 255 on the British).