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FOREIGN OFFICE ACCUSES ARGENTINA OF COMMERCIAL BULLYING

FOREIGN OFFICE ACCUSES ARGENTINA OF COMMERCIAL BULLYING

By J. Brock (FINN)

The UK Press and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have reported that Britain has accused Argentina of "bullying tactics" were baseless attempts by Argentina to outlaw oil and gas drilling in the waters around the Falkland Islands. Accusing Argentina of intransigence, the FCO said the latest threats are the latest in a long-running feud over the sovereignty of the Islands.

In November Argentina introduced a law that would impose criminal sanctions for what it called "illegal exploration" of hydrocarbons in the Argentine continental shelf, including 15-year jail sentences and large fines.

The Falkland Islands lie within the South American continental shelf but are separated by distance (approximately 400 miles), language and culture.

"This is a baseless gesture intended to deter legitimate commercial activity," the Foreign And Commonwealth Office said in a statement, and going on to say that Britain had formally protested to Buenos Aires. "It is shameful that Argentina is once again adopting bullying tactics in an attempt to strangle the Falkland Islands economy," the statement continued.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office added that firms seeking to tap oil and gas reserves around the islands, were governed by Falkland Islands legislation, in accordance with U.N. rules.

According to Reuters, a spokesman at the Argentine embassy in London was not immediately available for comment.



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