UK adds to Falkland row with marine reserve bid
LONDONBritain said it was creating one of the world’s biggest marine reserves around a cluster of South Atlantic islands claimed by Argentina, a move that may fuel tensions already rising before the 30th anniversary of the Falklands war.
The declaration on Feb. 27 of a reserve covering more than 1 million square kilometers of ocean around the remote British territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is designed to protect the fragile environment in an area teeming with penguins, seals and seabirds, Reuters reported. But Britain’s move, which puts severe restrictions on fishing in the area, could anger Buenos Aires which claims sovereignty over South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands as well as the Falkland Islands which lie about 1,000 kilometers to the west of them.
UK-linked ships barred
In 1982, Britain sent a force to reclaim the Falkland Islands and South Georgia after Argentine forces occupied them. Tensions between Britain and Argentina have risen again this year as the 30th anniversary of the war approaches and as British companies drill for oil off the Falklands, called Las Malvinas in Spanish. Argentina complained to the U.N. this month over what it called U.K.’s “militarization” of the South Atlantic and both countries have traded accusations of “colonialism” over their claim on the Falklands. Meanwhile, provincial authorities in Argentina stopped two British-linked cruise ships Feb. 27 from docking in Tierra del Fuego, raising the temperature further.