March 7, 2014
Illegal oil drilling in Malvinas will lead to 'administrative sanctions, prison sentences' - Filmus
Daniel Filmus, who has taken office as the head of Argentina’s newly created Malvinas Islands Secretariat, granted an interview to the British daily The Guardian. “It must be known that Argentina will defend its claim,” the ex senator told international media and warned that companies drilling for oil off the coast of the contested resource-rich archipelago “will not only face administrative consequences but also prison sentences.”
“We will go to the international courts,” the British paper quotes Filmus who ratified the Cristina Fernández de Kirchner administration determination to settle the Malvinas question through "dialogue." “There are few issues in Argentina that provoke such heartfelt support from not only all political forces but from the population in general,” the also ex Education Minister stated.
The South American country recently passed a law that sets sanctions on foreign companies that carry out hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities in the disputed territories and its surrounding areas, taking President Kirchner herself to accuse the coalition government of British PM David Cameron of “looting” Argentineans’ natural resources in several public appearances.
“Who does not obtain the permit (from Argentina) will not only face administrative consequences but also prison sentences,” Daniel Filmus explained.Regarding the Malvinas Islands’ inhabitants, the Kirchnerite official renewed the stance that the United Nations has recognized the Malvinas question as a territorial dispute and not a controversy that involves the observance of peoples’ right to self-determination, a pledge London has maintained over the past years even leading to a referendum in the islands that ended with the Malvinas population reaffirming their decision to stay what they are: British.
“There are 250,000 British descendants in Argentina, but they don’t claim the land they stand on is British,” he said.
When queried about the sovereignty talks Buenos Aires and London had held prior to the 1982 South Atlantic War conducted by Argentina’s then ruling military dictatorship –a brutal regime that persecuted and disappeared 30,000 people here-, Filmus considered such negotiations proves the UK that the bilateral dispute “exists.”
“Those (previous) talks implied the recognition of the existence of the dispute and that the way to resolve it was by both sides sitting down in an adult fashion to talk”, the Malvinas Islands Affairs Secretary said.