At the heart of the Argentine landmine/ unexploded ordnance issue is a territorial dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom. Argentina acknowledges that contamination exists in the U.K.-occupied Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), 480 kilometers (300 miles) off the South American country’s coast. However, the government challenges British claims to the islands, and has asserted its sovereign rights over not only the Falklands, but also South Georgia, the South Sandwich Islands and surrounding areas. The Falkland-Malvinas Islands were mined by both Argentine and British forces during the 1982 conflict between the two nations. Because both nations claim sovereignty over the contaminated areas, both share responsibility in complying with the Ottawa Convention’s guidelines for mine clearance. According to a Cranfield University field survey of the Islands, Argentine forces laid approximately 20,000 anti-personnel and 5,000 anti-vehicle landmines during the conflict.



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