UN Offers to Mediate Falklands Dispute

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There is tension between Britain and Argentina over oil drilling on the Falkland Islands. Despite protests from Argentina, drilling began on the first oil well on Monday.

The UN offered to be a mediator for both countries in solving the issue.

[Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the U.N. Chief]:

"The United Nations is always available for mediation, always available, but there is a key caveat, and that is of course that mediation, as the word implies is between two or more parties, and those parties, those sides must request mediation, and not just one, but the parties, sides to any disagreement, whatever it may be. That's as a general principle."

Later on Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to meet with Argentinean Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana.

[Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the U.N. Chief]:

" Firstly, the meeting is at the request of the Foreign Minister of Argentina, and it will be for the Foreign Minister of Argentina to bring up whatever matters he wishes to bring up. The second point, the Secretary-General will be in listening mode, and that's all I have to say on the matter at the moment."

During the meeting with Ban, Taiana is expected to bring up Argentina's dispute with Britain over oil drilling on the Falkland Islands.

The run-up to drilling in the Falklands led to rising tensions between Britain and Argentina, which went to war over them in 1982.

Argentina said earlier this month the exploration was illegal, and blocked the loading of pipes on to a ship which it said had operated in the Falklands.

The sea around the Falklands could contain up to 17 billion barrels of oil.

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