Falklands fury: How Argentina launched legal action against UK over British territory
In 2015, Argentine Minister for the Falklands – Daniel Filmus – confirmed that three English natural resource firms were being targeted with a lawsuit. Mr Filmus stubbornly insisted that the Malvinas – as the islands are known in South America – “belong to 44 million Argentinians”. He said: “Argentina has been forced to resort to defensive measures making use of the law and political action as its main tools in order to protect the natural resources in the area under dispute.
“The existence of large-scale renewable and non-renewable natural resources in the area can produce an obstacle to dialogue by triggering growing tensions, or it could also be an incentive to return to the negotiating table.
“It is not only economic development that is at stake but also the conservation of the rich and fragile ecosystems of the zone.”
He also added that the exploration of the waters surrounding the Islands posed environmental risks.
Mr Filmus added: “The objective of this criminal complaint from the republic of Argentina is to prevent the exploitation of resources which belong to our 40 million compatriots, and to see that the owners of these businesses be tried according to Argentine and international law.”
The move infuriated Downing Street, with then Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond hitting out at the Argentine administration, accusing them of "bullying".
He told Sky News at the time: “It is an outrageous piece of bullying and threatening against the Falkland islanders’ perfect right to develop their own economic resources and Argentina needs to stop this kind of behaviour and start acting like a responsible member of the international community.”
Then Argentine President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, also scoffed at the UK's Falklands policy as British forces increased their presence in the region on the 33rd anniversary of the invasion in 1982.
Ms de Kirchner urged Britain to spend its money instead on ending unemployed people’s reliance on food banks.
She said: “Don’t worry. Don’t spend another pound sterling on defending the Malvinas.
“Spend your money feeding the English, on providing jobs for your young people and a better quality of life for the British, because we are not a threat to anyone.
“What a paradox, when there are more than one million Britons eating at the food banks they have had to open in one of the most powerful countries in the world.”
While tensions have brewed for some time, the Falklands remains a British territory after a 2013 referendum in which all but three islanders voted to remain part of the UK.