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Argentina rejects British decision to name disputed Antarctica territory

English.news.cn   2012-12-22 11:31:55            

BUENOS AIRES, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Argentina on Friday condemned Britain's decision to name a controversial part of the Antarctica as "Queen Elizabeth Land" to honor Queen Elizabeth II.

Argentina expressed its "strongest rejection of Britain's decision to give a name to an area in the Argentine Antarctic sector," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It said London, in naming the territory, has violated the spirit of the Antarctic Treaty System, signed half a century ago by dozens of countries including Britain and Argentina to avert territorial disputes in the Antarctic.

The Argentine government summoned Britain's ambassador to express its rejection of "any British territorial claim in Antarctica" and reaffirm its sovereignty over the Argentine Antarctic sector, the statement said.

Britain on Tuesday named the southern portion of the so-called British Antarctic Territory as "Queen Elizabeth Land" in tribute to the throne of the reigning monarch. The British Antarctic Territory was the first official claim in Antarctica, made in 1908.

With no official name before, the portion is located on the west side of the continent and has an area of about 169,000 square miles (437,000 square kilometers). Argentina and Chile made overlapping claims to the area in the 1940s, though all claims were suspended by the Antarctic Treaty System.

"To be able to recognize the UK's commitment to Antarctica with a permanent association with Her Majesty is a great honor," British Foreign Minister William Hague said in a statement.

The dispute has stoked tensions between the two countries which went into war in 1982 over the disputed Malvinas Islands, known as Falkland in Britain.

Editor: znz
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