Chile’s President defends territorial claims in dispute with Argentina | World information

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile on Friday reaffirmed its claim to underwater territory off its south coast in a dispute with Argentina that Santiago’s move violated international treaties.

Chile officially claimed 5,000 square kilometers (1,930 square miles) of continental shelf in the Drake Sea between Chilean Cape Horn, its mainland and the Antarctic South Shetland Islands last week. The pointed piece of underwater area is known as Medialuna, and the claim includes the water above.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said Friday the claim was “legitimate” and the two countries had historically “overlapping” claims to 25,000 square kilometers (10,000 square miles) in the area.

“This is clearly in line with international law,” he said. “How do we have to resolve this overlap? As countries that act wisely and prudently, with dialogue and agreements.”

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Argentina last week accused Chile of violating the 1984 peace treaty that ended the Beagle conflict between the two countries’ military administrations over islands on the rugged southern tip of South America.

Argentina said Chile did not contest Buenos Aires’ claim in a mission to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 2009. Chile claimed that Argentina’s claim was “unenforceable” at the time.

Daniel Filmus, Argentine secretary for Antarctica, the South Atlantic and Las Malvinas, as the controversial British territory of the Falkland Islands is called, said on Thursday Argentina would seek UN intervention.

“Our position is clear. There is nothing to discuss,” he said in an interview with local television.

The dispute comes as elections approach in both countries, with their governments facing challenges like Argentina’s COVID-19 pandemic and recession, as well as Chile’s social protests.

Great Britain is closely monitoring the territorial dispute as Argentina has also stepped up its efforts to retake the Falkland Islands.

(Reporting by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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