New moves over the Falklands
By Michael Frenchman
New moves are taking place between Argentina and Britain over the disputed Falkland Islands colony in the South Atlantic. Yesterday, Dr Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz, the Argentine Minister of the Economy, who is on an official visit to Britain had discussions with ministers and officials and called on Mrs Thatcher, the Prime Minister.
Dr Martinez de Hoz said he would be discussing the possibility of Anglo-Argentine ventures in offshore oil exploration and the development of fishing off the Falklands. He said in an interview: “For the first time some progress has been made and there is a little light on the horizon . . . and I think the economic side can help. We have two common interests, which could be oil and fishing. So long as some sort of discussions on sovereignty can go on at the same time we might be able to reach some kind of agreement on joint oil exploration or fishing which would be the beginning of a get-together on this issue.
“We want you British to hurry up and be partners in our economic development.” With Britain’s recession there was an opportunity to develop further markets in his country, he said. He thought that because of the Falklands issue British investment had been losing its place in the Argentine economy, but the British Government now seemed determined to make up lost ground.
The British Government has been considering a report on fishing prospects around the Falklands. There has also been considerable activity as regards oil. Large companies have exploration and development programmes to be put into operation as soon as both countries can reach agreement.
Dr Martinez de Hoz also talked with, among others, Lord Carrington, the Foreign Secretary, Sir Geoffrey Howe, the Chancellor, Mr Peter Walker, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. and Mr John Nott, Trade Secretary.