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Updated: February 22, 2010 18:23 IST

We have won regional support over Malvinas issue, says Argentina

Xinhua
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Argentina´s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, centre, arrives at the international airport in Cancun, Mexico, on Sunday. Ms. Fernandez is attending the Rio Group Summit which is taking place on Monday and Tuesday. Photo: AP.
Argentina´s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, centre, arrives at the international airport in Cancun, Mexico, on Sunday. Ms. Fernandez is attending the Rio Group Summit which is taking place on Monday and Tuesday. Photo: AP.

Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana,said on Sunday that his country has won regional support in a dispute with Britain over the Malvinas Islands.

Mr. Taiana said his country now has the support of 33 foreign ministers attending a Rio Group and Caribbean Community meeting in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Argentina is against Britain’s planned oil drilling operations in the potentially oil-rich seabed around the Malvinas Islands, known in Britain as the Falklands.

“Argentina is achieving important diplomatic advances with the 33 foreign ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean, to strengthen our position at the Malvinas issue,” Mr. Taiana said in a statement.

He hopes a statement will be issued at the Playa del Carmen meeting in support of Argentina’s position.

He also urged Britain to start negotiations with Argentina over the sovereignty issue of the disputed islands.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, asked the British government to return the islands to Argentina. In his TV and radio programme “Hello, President,” Chavez said to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II: “The Malvinas are from Argentina, Queen, give a proof that we are in the 21st century and return them.” He also urged Latin American and Caribbean countries attending the Rio Group summit to support Argentina on its demand for the Malvinas Islands.

Argentina and Britain fought a war over the control of the south Atlantic islands in 1982 and Argentina was defeated.

Britain in January rejected Argentina’s latest claims of the islands, which it has held since 1833. According to Britain’s Geological Society, oil fields around the Falklands could produce up to 60 billion barrels of oil, as much as the North Sea crude reserves.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, said on Friday he was “confident” that diplomacy could resolve the standoff.

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