Britain’s recently appointed Prime Minister Theresa May has asked Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri if the South American country might end some restrictions on offshore oil exploration around the Falkland Islands, a self-governing British Overseas Territory.
May’s request came in a letter that included other peaceful overtures, including suggestions for more flights between the islands and Argentina.
The two nations have long been in dispute over the sovereignty of the islands and those tensions included a full-blown three-month war in 1982.
The letter asks Macri, who became President in December 2015, to remove “restrictive hydrocarbons measures” referring to Argentine laws that attempt to inhibit foreign companies’ oil and gas exploration offshore the Falklands.
Last June, under Macri’s predecessor President Christina Fernandez, an Argentine judge ordered the seizure of $156m worth of assets owned by E&P firms operating around the Falklands, including Britain’s Premier Oil and Rockhopper.
The ruling has not been enforced but offshore activity has been tamped down because of the weak price of oil.
In the 1982 conflict Britain sent a huge naval task force to the South Atlantic to dislodge Argentinian soldiers who had occupied the islands.