Argentina holds Britain liable for “likely” Falklands oil disaster

President attacks IMF for sanctions over figure fudging

Fernández de Kirchner greets supporters last month.
Fernández de Kirchner greets supporters last month.E. DI BALA (AP)

In the latest round in the ongoing scrap between Argentina and Britain over the Falkland Islands, Argentinean Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman warned Wednesday that his country would hold London responsible for any environmental disaster that results from the ongoing petroleum exploration in the South Atlantic by British companies.

In a rare visit to London, where his attempts to meet his British counterpart failed, Timerman told reporters at a news conference that Argentina is "a country that is defending its territorial integrity."

"We are going to sanction the companies in the South Atlantic that are destroying Argentina's natural resources. They are going to cause an environmental disaster. Great Britain will be held responsible if there is an environmental catastrophe in this illegal exploitation of resources," Timerman said.

British Foreign Minister William Hague canceled a meeting with Timerman after the Argentinean envoy refused to allow members of the Falklands government to sit in on the talks.

On Tuesday, Timerman created a stir when he told The Daily Telegraph that within 20 years Argentina will have control of the islands. Falklanders responded on Twitter: "Argentina has a better chance of having their flag on the moon in 20 years than here in [Port] Stanley."

Both Argentina and Britain fought a brief war in 1982 over the archipelago that resulted in the death of 255 British military personnel, three islanders and 649 Argentineans.

IMF sanctions

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday issued "a declaration of censure" against Argentina for not implementing measures to fix its recording data on consumer price index and GDP figures.

In a statement, the IMF executive board called on Argentina "to adopt the remedial measures to address the inaccuracy" of the consumer price index figures for Buenos Aires (CPI-GBA) and the GDP data "without further delay." The international body gave the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner a deadline of September 29, 2013. "The measures applicable to the CPI-GBA and GDP aim at aligning these indicators with the international statistical understandings and guidelines that ensure accurate measurement," the board said.

Writing on her Twitter account, the president came down hard on the IMF, saying that it should sanction its own officials for failing to head off the world economic crisis.

"Where were they when, not bubbles, but financial aerostat balloons were forming? Are there any sanctions against anyone who has profited from them? No, the first action they take is against Argentina," she said.

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