BUENOS AIRES, March 29 (UPI) -- Argentina is celebrating a non-binding decision by a United Nations commission that could increase the country's maritime territory to include the disputed Falkland Islands.
The U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf recently ruled that Argentina's territorial waters in the South Atlantic Ocean should be expanded by 35 percent. The decision is not final, but it could increase tensions between the United Kingdom and Argentina, where the islands are called the Malvinas.
"This is a historic occasion for Argentina because we've made a huge leap in the demarcation of the exterior limit of our continental shelf," Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra said. "This reaffirms our sovereignty rights over the resources of our continental shelf."
The commission's decision is advisory and does not play as significant a role as other formal U.N. commissions. The U.K. prime minister's office downplayed the commission's ruling.
"At this stage we have yet to receive details of [the] report. It is important to note that this is an advisory committee. It makes recommendations, they are not legally binding," the prime minister's office said.
The contested waters are being explored for oil and gas deposits, which could further escalate tensions.
Argentina and the U.K. briefly went to war over the Falkland Islands in 1982. The islands have been a British territory since 1833 and the majority of the island's 3,000 citizens wish to remain under British rule.