(AFP) — Argentina’s military is to take on protecting the environment and interests in Antarctica under a shake-up being proposed by President Cristina Kirchner. The reform aims to assert Argentina’s sovereignty over its natural resources, but could also create friction as competition intensifies between countries looking to establish claims on the South Pole, where large oil deposits may lie.
Although Antarctica is protected under a 1959 treaty allowing only scientific research, moves are being made by Argentina, Australia, Britain, China, France, New Zealand and Norway to boost their presence there and lay claim to territorial waters that could yield oil. The UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf is considering requests by some of those countries to extend ownership around territories close to Antarctica based on continental shelf surveys.
Britain, for instance, is seeking to increase its claim on waters around the Falkland Islands off Argentina, over which the two countries went to war in 1982. Up to 60 billion barrels of oil are estimated to possibly lie under the seabed there. The rivalry in the region is especially keen right now, given that a UN convention defining territorial sea limits has a deadline of May 2009 for countries to argue for expansion.
Islas Malvinas! My favourite book about the Antarctic- At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft, full text here for free! Best film might well be Carpenter’s The Thing, so is that my tastes or does the continent inspire horror? Not in me, I love it! So I might have to enter the fray and lay territorial claim to some bit, not big, just enough for an ice base and a penguin playground. Maybe I’ll borrow ‘Falkland islanders rights’ from HM Govt. as a pretext, then once the base is built and they come round to borrow some sugar, fuck ’em, the inbred simpletons and their sheep friendly ways.