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South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone reactivated

Friday 30 July 2021
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Yesterday, during the 94th Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, a new resolution revitalising the “Zone of Peace and Cooperation of the South Atlantic” (ZPCSA) was adopted. The latest resolution by this forum had been adopted in 2015.

In this new resolution, among other matters, the role of the ZPCSA as a forum for increased interaction, coordination and cooperation among Member States is stressed.

The ZPCSA, a forum for cooperation between South America and Africa made up of 24 countries bordering the South Atlantic, was created in 1986 through UN General Assembly Resolution 41/11. Argentina also repeatedly reaffirms in this platform its sovereignty rights over the Malvinas, South Georgias and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas. In this forum, the British military presence in the South Atlantic is regularly condemned, and the importance of not allowing the presence of nuclear weapons in this area is reaffirmed.

The Secretary for the Malvinas, Antarctica and South Atlantic, Daniel Filmus, stressed that “the reactivation of the ZPCSA, following several years during which no resolutions had been submitted to the UN General Assembly, showcases the interest of Latin American and African member countries in protecting the region from the interests of world powers and preserving it as a zone of peace and cooperation.”

Argentina has worked with Brazil and Uruguay to relaunch this initiative, which serves as an important space for cooperation, not only with regard to security and defence-related topics, but also to seabed exploration and mapping and oceanographic research, environmental cooperation, protection and conservation of the marine environment and living resources, as well as marine scientific research, among other topics.

“Argentina has played an important role to keep this organization alive and has maintained that, as part of UN resolutions, one of its main goals is to put an end to colonialism in the South Atlantic,” Filmus added.

Yesterday, the Argentine government made a presentation at the United Nations and noted the geostrategic nature of the South Atlantic, the importance of its incalculable natural resources for sustainable development and the cooperation between Latin American Atlantic countries and African members of ZPCSA.  Argentina also stressed the importance of the South Atlantic as a key pillar to understand climate change globally.

In addition, 2020’s relaunch of Pampa Azul in Argentina was highlighted as a key multidisciplinary strategy aimed at promoting scientific knowledge as an essential basis for decision-making in the area of ocean policy.

The resolution also refers to the Montevideo Declaration, adopted in 2013 during the Seventh Ministerial Meeting of the Zone, in which it was made clear that the members share the same views on extremely delicate issues, such as the need to continue working in order to put an end to colonialism in all its forms and manifestations swiftly and unconditionally. On that occasion, the members of the Zone had expressed their concern over the repeated situations negatively affecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of some member States of the Zone, such as the Question of the Malvinas Islands, which affects Argentina’s territorial integrity. In this context, the members stressed the efforts to promote the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes and finding negotiated solutions to territorial conflicts affecting them, in accordance with international law, especially with the United Nations Charter and the resolutions of the General Assembly and its Special Committee on Decolonization.

Finally, the importance of the status given to the Zone, not only as a zone of peace and cooperation, but also as a nuclear-weapon-free zone was highlighted, an effort that is part of the vision of peace and security that gave rise to the United Nations and several regional and subregional organizations of which States of the Zone are part. Accordingly, within this context, Argentina deemed it appropriate to recall Resolution 41/11, which calls upon all States of all other regions, in particular militarily significant States, to scrupulously respect the region of the South Atlantic as a Zone of Peace and Cooperation, especially through the reduction and eventual elimination of their military presence there and the non-introduction of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction.

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