It took a couple of days but finally on Wednesday US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the US “has no concerns” about the alleged ‘militarization’ of the South Atlantic which was denounced by Argentina last week before the United Nations at three different levels.
Further more Ms Nuland said the US “does not have any reason to question” the alleged British ‘militarization’ of the South Atlantic.
“The UK has made clear to us and to the Argentines that what they are engaged in, in a naval capacity is normal and is typical for this time of year. So we don’t have any reason to question that”, said Ms Nuland.
The previous week the State Department spokesperson was unable to answer the question in an exchange at the daily briefing with the media.
“Are you concerned at all about a militarization of the South Atlantic? Regardless of the claims over the Falklands, are you concerned about the deployment, the British deployment of troops? Do you agree with the Argentine president that this is creating tensions?”
Ms Nuland admitted she was not in a position “to comment one way or the other on what the British may or may not be doing in the oceans. Frankly, I don’t have the information, so I’m going to send you to the Department of Defense on that”.
Likewise regarding the deployment of the Prince of Wales to the Falklands with the SAR helicopter crew, Ms Nuland replied that “they did, as part of his normal work”.
The State Department position was not well received by Argentine authorities according to the Buenos Aires media basically because last week’s statement by Ms. Nuland reiterating the US position describing the dispute as “bilateral” and “calling for (UK/Argentina) negotiations” was considered a big plus for the government of President Cristina Fernandez and even possibly, a behind the scene involvement of Washington pressing on London.
“Our policy is unchanged. We believe that this is a bilateral issue that needs to be worked out directly between Argentina and the United Kingdom. That’s what we are encouraging both sides to do as we head towards this anniversary”.
Likewise “we are encouraging Argentina and the UK to work this out peacefully, to work it out through negotiations”.
This week Minister of Foreign Affairs Hector Timerman announced that Argentina had officially accepted UN mediation in the Falklands/Malvinas dispute, following on last week’s presentation of the alleged ‘militarization’ of the Falklands and the South Atlantic by the British government.
The Argentine media also speculates that US government position could also have consequences for any consideration of the dispute and the ‘militarization’ claims in the Security Council. In effect UK is one of five with veto power, and these latest statements could be indicating the US reluctance to help press the issue.
On Tuesday the White House said President Obama had a phone conversation with British PM David Cameron, but the issues addressed were “Afghanistan and Syria”.
However PM Cameron did address the issue in a long phone call with Chilean President Sebastian Piñera, a day ahead of Wednesday’s announcement that President Cristina Fernandez will be visiting Chile in mid March.