UN rules the Falkland Islands are located inside Argentine waters


The Falkland Islands are looking to Britain to see what a United Nations ruling on the South Atlantic Ocean means.

Argentina is said to be welcoming a commission decision that has increased its maritime territory to include the disputed islands and beyond.

Argentina's foreign ministry said its waters had been increased by 0.66 million square miles (1.7 million square kilometres) - 35% - and the decision will be key in its dispute with Britain over the islands which it calls Las Malvinas.

"This is a historic occasion for Argentina because we've made a huge leap in the demarcation of the exterior limit of our continental shelf," foreign minister Susana Malcorra said.

"This reaffirms our sovereignty rights over the resources of our continental shelf".

The Falkland Islands government has said it is looking to Britain to discover "what, if any, decisions have been made, and what implications there may be" now for the territory.

The Falkland Islands off Argentina's coast | Image: Google Earth

"Our understanding has always been that the UN would not make any determination on applications for continental shelf extension in areas where there are competing claims," said spokesman Mike Summers.

The official spokeswoman for the British Prime Minister David Cameron told the BBC: "At this stage we have yet to receive details of [the] report. It is important to note that this is an advisory committee. It makes recommendations, they are not legally binding".

The islands were at the centre of a dispute in 1982 when Argentina seized the South Atlantic archipelago and put its troops on the territory.

Britain repelled the occupation and the islands are now self-governing - with Britain responsible for its defence and foreign affairs.

The UK says the islanders cannot be forced to accept Argentine rule against their will.

Earlier this month, the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf sided with Argentina ratifying the country's 2009 report fixing the limit of its territory at 200 to 350 miles from its coast.

However, the UN did note that the diplomatic dispute between Argentina and Britain remained unresolved.

The Falklands' economy is benefiting currently from the millions of dollars being spent on oil exploration in the region.

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