News story

UK response to Argentina’s intention to extend its continental shelf

The Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on 28th March a planned expansion of its maritime territory in the South Atlantic Ocean by 660,000 square miles.

This follows Argentina’s submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) in April 2009 to extend the outer limit of its continental shelf. The CLCS has now concluded its study, although its recommendations are not yet public.

The Rules of Procedure of the CLCS establish that it cannot consider areas where there are overlapping claims as to the continental shelf, or other disputes as to the delimitation of boundaries.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said:

The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) has no jurisdiction over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.

The UN itself has acknowledged that the CLCS could not and did not consider claims relating to the Falkland Islands within the Argentine submission.

The UK Government remains in no doubt over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, nor of the right of the islanders to determine their own future.

Further information

The CLCS (Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf) is an advisory body established under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea that makes recommendations on the extent of coastal States’ extended continental shelf, i.e. beyond 200 nautical miles.

The CLCS Rules of Procedure can be found online.

This UN press release acknowledges that the CLCS could not and did not consider claims relating to the Falkland Islands.

For the same reasons, CLCS also could not and did not consider Antarctica and the South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands as part of the Argentine submission.

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