FT says UK rejects Argentina's protests over oil drilling plans in Malvinas

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According to British international business newspaper The Financial Times, "Downing Street refused to bow to Argentine protests over plans to start drilling for oil and gas around the Falkland Islands, in a sovereignty dispute that has reawakened the tensions that erupted into war in 1982."

On February 2nd, Argentine Foreign Ministry Jorge Taiana summoned Britain's chargé d'affaires in Buenos Aires to hand him a formal protest note "against the imminent start of drilling activities in the northern area of the Malvinas Islands."


"Gordon Brown is adamant that exploratory drilling should be allowed to take place in the waters around the islands, but is anxious to ensure that the dispute with Buenos Aires does not escalate into military confrontation," said a British diplomatic source to the newspaper.

"British diplomats say there is little expectation of direct military action by Argentina," the Financial Times reported.

"Diplomats are, however, alert to a possible alternative course of action: Argentina attempting to disrupt the passage of the rig using civilian vessels," the article added.

"Unlike the situation at the time of the Argentine invasion in 1982, the Falklands are well defended with four eurofighter jets, at least two warships and an infantry company posted at all times."

"In the unlikely event of conflict, the UK would face a far more difficult task in recapturing the territory. Its military is less well equipped for expeditionary warfare and an invading army could use a modern airstrip - built by the British after the 1982 war," it ended.

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