Uk `right over Falklands' - Miliband

FOREIGN Secretary David Miliband has defended companies drilling for oil off the Falkland Islands because they were acting wholly within their rights under international law.

Graham Dines

FOREIGN Secretary David Miliband has defended companies drilling for oil off the Falkland Islands because they were acting wholly within their rights under international law.

Mr Miliband stressed the Government had no doubt about Britain's sovereignty over the islands, 28 years after British troops reoccupied the crown colony by defeating Argentina's armed forces.

The UK has granted Desire Petroleum the rights to begin drilling 60 miles north of the islands, which has infuriated Argentina which still maintains the territory is lawfully Argentine.


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after Argentina announced new shipping controls.

Mr Miliband told MPs at Commons question time this afternoon: “The Government has made it clear it has no doubt about the UK's sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, the principle of self-determination underlies that.

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“There can be no negotiations on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless and until such time as the Falkland Islanders so wish it and they have made clear they have no such wish.

"The best way of supporting legal and appropriate economic development around the Falkland Islands is to uphold the rule of international law.

“That is precisely what we are doing in the case of the hydrocarbons exploration at the moment.”

Mr Miliband added: “The most important way we can continue to secure the Falkland Islanders' right to determine their own future is to continue the security presence we have in the area. We do so on a routine basis and an uninterrupted basis. We will continue to maintain the importance . . . of upholding international law.”

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