UN supports Falklanders’ oil rights

12 Feb

Tucked away within Argentina’s 18 page protest to the United Nations submitted on Friday, is a further complaint regarding the Falkland Islanders’ oil exploration programme.

Argentina’s Foreign Minister, Hector Timerman, complained that the United Kingdom was in breach of UN Resolution 31/49 which requests the both Britain and Argentina not to make any unilateral decisions which affect the Islands status and therefore add a further complication into the whole issue. Timerman’s protest also raised fears of an environmental disaster of the scale of the recent oil spill seen in the Gulf of Mexico.

What the Argentine protest fails to mention however, is that the UN, in its ground breaking Resolution 1514 of 1960 reserves to all peoples the right to “freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources.” This was confirmed by two further Resolutions (1515 & 1803) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1966.

That the Falklanders’ are a ‘people’is beyond serious question, as Resolution 2625 provides them with a distinct separate status; ” The territory of a colony or other Non-Self-Governing Territory has, under the Charter, a status separate and distinct from the territory of the State administering it; and such separate and distinct status under the Charter shall exist until the people of the colony or Non-Self-Governing Territory have exercised their right of self-determination in accordance with the Charter, and particularly its purposes and principles…”

So, Argentina’s protest places an interpretation on the Falkland Islands status that is clearly not the view of the UN.

Which is all good news for the Islanders as a new Report, due to be submitted to Parliament next week, outlines the potential for oil production in  their waters. Four major prospects are due to be drilled this year, and analysts at Edison Investment Research predicts that potential tax riches are likely to reach just shy of $180bn. The most developed prospect, Sea Lion, already appraised by Salisbury-based Rockhopper Exploration, is forecast to produce 448m barrels over the next 20 years.

The source of Argentina’s envy is obvious, but attempting to lay claim to the wealth beneath Falkland Islands seas is rather closer to attempted theft.

 

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