News today from TELAM, the official Argentine news agency, that President Cristina Fernandez is on her way to New York next week for her annual speech to the United Nations. Unsurprisingly the news agency added that one of the main thrusts of her speech would be Argentina’s everlasting whine about the Falklands and the fact that Britain won’t sit down to negotiate.
Same speech as last year then, and the one before. Saves the speechwriters from thinking too much I suppose, although there may be more emphasis on oil this time.
Rockhopper’s news about its plans to take the find to a production phase will have hurt. It’s the one thing that Argentina’s politicians prayed would not happen. Why? Because an oil-producing Falklands makes the Overseas Territory totally self sufficient, and with their promise to contribute towards the Islands’ defence removes one source of antagonism with the British public. The only source of complaint, in these days of cost cutting.
So next week, the ‘Falklands Question’ will become the ‘Oil Question’.
There are a lot of opinions being expressed in the press about the viability of an oil production plan and whether or not Rockhopper Exploration can raise the necessary funding, which brings me back to yesterdays news.
The Foreign Office is to reassure the City that this Government is committed to the Islands’ defence. As I said, yesterday’s news. But there is one other ‘Question’ in the midst of all the speculation.
Who asked for the Foreign Office to provide some reassurance?
The obvious answer would be Rockhopper who desperately need the reinforcement in order to negotiate with the money men. But I’m not so sure. The Foreign Office have a history of viewing the Falklands as a nuisance; an irritation to better relations with South America and Brazil in particular. It is very well-known that the present British Government wish to dramatically improve their relationship with South America’s big performer. Even in the face of Brazil’s support for Argentina.
So Rockhopper are merely a part of the problem as far as the Foreign Office are concerned, and unlikely to get any swift support.
Maybe it wasn’t Rockhopper then. So who?
Could it be that some, even many, of the big investment houses in the City of London are seriously considering putting their money in? Seriously looking at the pros and cons? Weighing the risks?
Now they could generate a swift response from the notoriously lumbering Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Don’t you think?