Falklands row erupts as Argentina ramps up pressure and accuses Britain of 'breaking law'

Falklands row erupts as Argentina ramps up pressure and accuses Britain of 'breaking law'

ARGENTINA's new minister with responsibility for affairs related to the Falkland Islands has sought to turn up the heat as he pushes his country's claim over the remote archipelago - by accusing the UK of "breaking international law".

Guillermo Carmona, the new Secretary of Malvinas, Antarctica, and South Atlantic Islands, who chaired the Chamber of Deputies’ Foreign Relations Committee between 2012 and 2015, made his remarks in conversation with the Agenda Malvinas website, outlining the approach he plans to adopt on issues related to his country’s sovereignty claim. Mr Carmona replaced Daniel Filmus in the role after the former was appointed Science Minister by President Alberto Fernandez.

Insisting he was acting in accordance with a state policy framed in Argentina’s National Constitution, he explained: "The Secretariat is responsible for the dispute with the United Kingdom, something that requires compliance with the First Transitory Provision of the National Constitution, and which means the dissemination of our position in the international and diplomatic sphere.

“My personal opinion is that the Atlantic itself is what calls us to think about national sovereignty since it implies its full exercise over the Argentine Sea, the economic exclusion zone, the extensive continental shelf of our country and its natural resources."

With all such areas, Mr Carmona said, the Foreign Ministry's approach involved dealing with intermediaries from other countries and with those representing Argentina in forums for international debate.

For this, he said, it was essential to be clear that the framework for action was what he called the “constitutional mandate” which reaffirms Argentina's sovereignty over Falklands and corresponding maritime spaces.

He added: “But our work is also framed within international law in which we invoke the various United Nations resolutions that recognise the legitimacy of our sovereignty and call for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.”

In the past, the defence of Argentina’s sovereignty claim had suffered “historical discontinuities as a result of conflicting interests”, he suggested.

He added: “It is up to us to take the step and reverse the movements of some political sectors that relativise or minimise the importance of this issue in public discussion, placing strategic issues in a subordinate position.”

Referring to Mr Fernandez's speech on the subject of the Falklands to the United Nations Assembly recently, he said: "This is accompanied by Argentina's renewed international activism around the recovery of our sovereignty and the work on cooperation for Antarctic research, where we seek to strengthen positions with countries geographically linked to the South Atlantic: especially in Latin America and Africa because we know that the future is closely linked to the projection towards the sea.”

In a swipe at Britain, he claimed: “At the moment the United Kingdom is ignoring United Nations resolutions by granting fishing licences, hydrocarbon exploitation permits, and all kinds of unilateral actions that seek to establish a de facto situation that is not guaranteed by international law."

He also stressed Argentina’s need to consolidate its presence in the Antarctic region, which will involve investment equivalent to more than £5billion.

He said: "The draft budget for next year implies increasing this development, with the expansion of the naval base in Ushuaia, which significantly demonstrates Argentina's interest in exercising sovereignty in its Antarctic waters."

He also stressed that the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the war would coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Ushuaia Declaration, a document which in 2012 unanimously reaffirmed the defence of sovereignty as a State policy.

He added: “To this end, our action involves coordinating the work of ministries as diverse as Defence or Culture, as well as a strong task in the international area to reactivate the group in favour of dialogue for Malvinas because the moment and the situation make the activity of these groups more important than ever."

Speaking after Mr Carmona’s recent promotion, a UK-based insider told Express.co.uk: “Guillermo Carmona has been a major player in the Argentine campaign for the Falklands for a long time.

“I think Filmus was quite aggressive.

"But Carmona may well be more so because of his long involvement with their campaign and with Argentine specialists on the subject – and because the Argentine Government is likely to want to step up their campaign ahead of the 40th anniversary of the war next year, and for domestic and electoral purposes.

Argentina launched an invasion of the Falklands in 1982, triggering a brief but bloody war that cost the lives of almost 1,000 troops.

Despite its defeat, Buenos Aires has never relinquished its claim over the islands.