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Last Updated: Friday, 30 March 2007, 12:49 GMT 13:49 UK
B Aires hardens Falklands stance
By Daniel Schweimler
BBC News, Argentina

Argentine war cemetery in Darwin
More than 900 people died in the conflict
Argentina has toughened its stance over the disputed Falklands Islands, days ahead of the 25th anniversary of its invasion of what it calls the Malvinas.

The planning minister said any company that explored for oil and gas in the waters around the territory would not be allowed to operate in Argentina.

The move comes two days after Buenos Aires scrapped a joint exploration treaty with Britain.

Argentina says the UK must negotiate over sovereignty of the islands.

The British government says it will not because the people who live there want to stay British.

Long-running dispute

On Thursday, Argentine Planning Minister Julio de Vido announced that any company involved in oil and gas exploration in waters around the islands would not be able to operate on the Argentine mainland.

Scientists speculate that billions of dollars' worth of oil may lie under the waters around the South Atlantic territory.

Argentina has been claiming the territory as its own since the British first settled there in 1833.

On 2 April 1982, the then military government in Argentina took the Falklands by force. Two months later, Britain reclaimed them in a conflict that cost more than 900 lives.

The two countries have maintained an often awkward friendship ever since.

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