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  • Macri (R) during the opening ceremony of the G-20 Summit in Hangzhou, China. Sept. 4, 2016.

    Macri (R) during the opening ceremony of the G-20 Summit in Hangzhou, China. Sept. 4, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

The move marks a break from the previous Argentine government's emphasis on its claims of sovereignty over the disputed islands.

The governments of Argentina and the U.K. have reached a cooperation agreement to lift restrictions on resource extraction and transportation around the disputed Malvinas Islands, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom.

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"The government of the United Kingdom and Argentina have agreed to improve relations through closer cooperation on issues of mutual interest, including trade and security," said the British office, following the visit of the Deputy Foreign Minister Alan Duncan to Buenos Aires.

Both countries have agreed to work together to ease the restrictions currently imposed on oil and gas extraction, transportation and fishing around the island.

Political analyst Francesc Badia i Dalmases said this is another sign that President Mauricio Macri is willing to make concessions favoring international interests, a strong shift away from the sovereignty demands of the previous administration of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

"The Malvinas were the battlefront in the external action of the previous government, which had a strong and very vindictive speech towards the islands, and was an effort to nationalize oil in a sovereign matter," said the analyst.

According to the U.K. Foreign Ministry, though, this is "the first positive statement about the problems in the South Atlantic since 1999."

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Another part of the agreement is to increase the frequency of direct flights from the islands to the mainland. Currently, these flights are limited as part of a strategy by the previous government to increase pressure on Britain to restore Argentine control over the islands.

Argentina has claimed sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands since 1833, when the U.K. first occupied the territory. In April 1982, the military dictatorship of Argentina tried to recover the land but was met by a British armed force that defeated the Argentine military.

Argentina fought for the sovereignty of the islands in an historic 10-week battle, surrendering after 74 days of conflict that claimed the lives of 649 Argentine soldiers, more than twice the death toll suffered by British forces, who lost 255.

A U.N. ruling in March said the Malvinas Islands, known to the British as the Falklands, are in fact in Argentine waters, but they continue to be a self-governed British overseas territory.


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