Argentina has rejected an international arbitration decision which awards Chile three islands off Tierra del Fuego.
Argentina has rejected an international arbitration decision which awards Chile three islands off Tierra del Fuego. In Buenos Aires on Wednesday (25 January) Argentinian Foreign Minister Oscar Antonio Montes handed his Government's decision to Chilean Ambassador Senor Rene Rojas, and also informed British Charge d'Affaires Hugh Carless. Under a 19th-century treaty the two countries had asked Britain to arbitrate.
SYNOPSIS: The dispute over the islands of Nueva, Picton and Lennox at the eastern entrance to the Beagle Channel has been going on for years, and both Argentina and Chile had previously said they would accept the tribunal's ruling.
Argentina's rejection came from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Vice-Admiral Montes had received the arbitration tribunal's decision last May, and Chile had already accepted its findings. The ruling was given after consultation with the International Court of Justice.
Speaking on television, Vice Admiral Montes claimed that international opinion and the Argentinian people were behind his government's decision to reject the arbitration ruling. The dispute has defied settlement for more than 100 years. The three islands themselves are of little importance, but their significance stems from the fact that both Argentina and Chile recognise a 370 kilometre limit for territorial waters. The islands are at the eastern end of the Beagle Channel, and the Argentinians feel that if they are placed under Chilean control they will be deprived of control over access not only to this end of the Channel, but also to valuable oil and fishing resources. Argentina's decision came at a time when negotiations won a bi-lateral settlement appear to have stalled.