Argentina’s left hand v. right hand

16 Mar

As Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez, continued her talks in Chile, the repercussions of her Foreign Minister’s threat to sue any company involved with oil exploration around the Falkland Islands, rebounded.

The Tribuna magazine accused Fernandez of hypocrisy, pointing out that while, on the one hand, she sought to take British companies to law, on the other, her attacks on the Spanish owned YPF oil conglomerate were about to let BP in via the back door. Unhappy with the amount of investment YPF have been making within Argentina, Fernandez has been looking at transferring some of the company’s licensed assets to Argentine companies more closely aligned with her Government’s world view, and in particular Carlos Bulgheroni and the Pan American Energy Company.

According to the Tribuna, the Pan American Energy Company is 60% owned by BP. A case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing?

Britain’s reaction to the threats of legal action announced by Hector Timerman, were clarified by the Foreign Office in London last night; “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.”

“Hydrocarbon exploration in the Falklands is a legitimate commercial venture.

“The British government supports the right of the Falkland Islanders to develop their own natural resources for their own economic benefit. This right is an integral part of their right of self-determination.

“We remain clear that domestic Argentine legislation does not apply to the Falkland Islands or South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The Falkland Islands Government is, as always, entitled to develop both fisheries and hydrocarbons industries within its own waters, without interference from Argentina.”


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