Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Obama Administration Continues to Refuse to Take Britain's Side in Falklands Dispute

It's really quite amazing that despite the recent Falklands referendum, where 99.8% voted to remain under British sovereignty (with 92% turnout) that Obama continues to remain neutral in the dispute with Argentina.  How can he not stand by one of our closest allies.  It's not like the Falklands are an "occupied" territory with an indigenous population suffering under the yolk of colonialism.  What exactly is stopping him?  Why even throw the semi-dictatorial government in Argentina any sort of bone?  But that is exactly what he seems to be doing.  Check out this transcript from the latest State Department briefing:

QUESTION: Yeah. What do you think about the results of this? Do you think that the three people who voted against should get their way and that you should – you'll start encouraging the Brits to hand over the islands to the Argentines, or what do you think?

MS. NULAND: Well, we take note of the results of the recent democratic referendum in the islands, where the residents voted to retain the islands' current political status as a British overseas territory. The residents have clearly expressed their preference for a continued relationship with the United Kingdom. That said, we obviously recognize that there are competing claims. Our formal position has not changed. We recognize the de facto U.K. Administration of the islands, but we take no position on sovereignty claims.

QUESTION: So you don't think that this referendum enhances the – or augments the British claim?

MS. NULAND: What we have said is that the residents have clearly expressed themselves and expressed their will, but we also acknowledge the competing claims.

QUESTION: Well, I'm sure, but you do agree with the principle of self determination? You do agree with that, correct?

MS. NULAND: Let me say it one more time, that the residents have expressed their clear preference. We acknowledge that there are conflicting claims, and we recognize the U.K. de facto administration.

QUESTION: Can you explain to me why it is that on this issue you refuse to give the Brits any leeway? I mean, they are your closest ally, arguably. And you're just – you've just refused to – all they're asking for – they're not asking for much here. They're just asking you to recognize the vote. And if you do agree with the principle of self determination, I don't understand why it wouldn't – this wouldn't affect your policy.

MS. NULAND: And as I said, we've been very clear about what we see in this referendum and the will that's been expressed by the people of the island, but that doesn't change the fact that there are competing claims. Our own legal position has not changed.

QUESTION: So are you going to now take a look at your position and perhaps review it going further down the line?

MS. NULAND: Again, I think I just stated where we are. I don't have anything further to announce.

QUESTION: So no change in the U.S. position?

MS. NULAND: As I said, conflicting claims, but we recognize the de facto U.K. Administration of the islands. We don't take any position on sovereignty claims. We do think it's important for the parties to continue to have – to be constructive in their approach and focus their own efforts on a resolution.

QUESTION: So would you consider this referendum a failure then? Because part of the reason for holding it was to demonstrate to the world that the people who live in the Falkland Islands want to remain British and to validate that position before international bodies and other governments. If the United States, which, as Matt said, is the closest ally of Britain, is not going to change its longstanding neutrality on this position, then by definition the referendum has failed to convince you of that.

MS. NULAND: Well, as I said, we have been very straight up here about acknowledging what happened in this referendum, which is that the residents have expressed their preference. But with regard to our legal position, it is as I stated.

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