Dont you dare! Argentina issues new Falklands threat as UK plans major development
PMQs: Johnson slams opposition over Falklands reaction
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The provincial government of Tierra del Fuego – the tip of South America – asked BAM Nuttall “to regularise the project it intends to develop” with the Argentinian authorities. In August, the government – which claims authority over the south Atlantic islands, among others – issued a court summons to the construction company, which is part of the Royal BAM Group, to present plans of the intended new port in Port Stanley.
Claudio Melella, governor of the province, tweeted on Monday that the “legitimate government of the Malvinas Islands” (the Argentine name for the Falkland Islands) had issued the notification “following the corresponding legal procedure”.
The contractor agreed the work with the Falkland Islands government in April 2020.
It arrived on the island in August 2020, with a targeted start date for construction in 2024.
The proposed construction of a new port has previously drawn condemnation from Argentine politicians, who view the islands as rightfully theirs.
At the start of August, Daniel Filmus, then-secretary of the Malvinas, branded the Falklands Islands government “illegitimate”.
He said the project would see the “illegal exploitation” of natural resources “which belong to all Argentine citizens.”
Mr Filmus added the work was “part of the British intention to establish the infrastructure aimed at transforming the port of the Malvinas Islands into a logistical support centre”.
Andrés Dachary, the current secretary, said that “we will not allow any action on the part of the British government that seeks to entrench its illegal presence in our territory.
“The de facto situation of the illegal British occupation of part of our territory is an affront to international law and to all peoples who are fighting for the end of colonial anachronism in the 21st century.
“We will use all legal and administrative tools within our reach and within our competence to protect our jurisdiction.”
The Tierra del Fuego government formally summoned the company under international law, citing a violation of a UN General Assembly resolution urging parties to refrain from making unilateral decisions over the islands.
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Sonia Castiglione, Argentine Minister of Production and Environment, commented: “Malvinas is a provincial jurisdiction, and as such is covered by our regulations, especially in environmental matters.
“Sovereignty is exercised with action, with deeds, and in this sense, from this Ministry we will carry out all the necessary processes.”
The Falkland Islands government has previously said the new construction will “replace the existing port with a new facility that will benefit users in fishing, tourism, and shipping, as well as many other sectors of the local economy.
“The new facility will support the national economy and enable future economic growth in many commercial sectors.”
BAM Nuttall was said to have 90 days to submit documentation for the case.
When the notification was first sent, Mr Dachary said: “depending on the response we have, we can see if the prosecution stage starts.”
Argentina has never officially owned the islands, which were uninhabited before being settled on by British, French and Spanish colonisers.
The British reasserted rule of the islands in 1832, following Argentine attempts to install a garrison on the islands.
Argentina has contested a claim to the Falkland Islands ever since, attempting an invasion in 1982.
In March 2013, the Falkland Islands held a referendum on its status. 99.8 percent of inhabitants polled voted in favour of remaining a British overseas territory.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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