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Argentina Swears In Head Of New Secretariat Created For Falkland Dispute

posted 6 Jan 2014, 16:00 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 6 Jan 2014, 16:01 ]

Argentina swears in former government minister Daniel Filmus as the head of a new secretariat created to oversee Argentina's Falklands dispute with the UK.

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (JANUARY 06, 2014) (REUTERS) -  Argentina swore in on Monday (January 6) Daniel Filmus as the head of a new Foreign Ministrysecretariat aimed at focusing exclusively on Argentina's claim over the Falkland Islands.

The position is known officially as the Secretariat of Relative Affairs of the Malvinas, the term Argentines use to refer to the Falklands.

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Foreign Minister Hector Timerman presided over the swearing-in ceremony, praising the "patience and dedication" of Filmus.

Defence Minister Agustin Rossi and Labour Minister Carlos Tomada also attended the event.

Filmus said he was extremely proud to be appointed by President Cristina Fernandez and promised to continue pushing Argentina's sovereignty claims over the Falklands.

"We know that the United Kingdom has important economic interests there in terms of hydrocarbons and fishing. We also know that the United Kingdom has interest in possibly having a military base in the region. Those are the central themes. Regarding those themes, we believe that Argentina has to ensure the value of the solidarity between all nations. Not only the Latin American countries, CELAC, Mercosur, UNASUR but rather all of the world's nations support Argentina's position," Filmus told reporters.

He added that it was "inconceivable" to him that part of the Argentine territory "is occupied by a colonial power."

Filmus, a former government minister with close ties to Fernandez, also said that the United Nationsshould reopen a dialogue between Argentina and the UK, a request pushed by Fernandez and rejected by London.

Decades-old tensions between the two countries over the sovereignty of the South Atlantic archipelago escalated recently after Argentina introduced a law seeking to block London-listed firm from drilling for oil and gas there.

The Falklands, 300 miles off the Argentine coast, are classed as a British Overseas Territory, butArgentina also lays claim to them. More than three decades after Argentina tried to invade the Falklands, the sovereignty debate elicits a nationalistic reaction from both countries.