Comments Hillary Clinton made in March about how the US would like to see the United Kingdom and Argentina resolve their issues over the Falkland Islands, as well as a decision this week by the Organization of American States to push for negotiation, have been described as a slap in the face for Britain.
“Hillary Clinton’s statements … demonstrate a clear shift in US policy from neutrality (last week’s position) towards siding with the Argentine position of pressing for negotiations over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands at the United Nations," wrote Telegraph commentator Nile Gardiner about the remarks Clinton made at a press conference in Buenos Aires.
“The Secretary of State, a highly skilled political operator, knows exactly what she is doing here. She is giving her full support for the official stance of Buenos Aires, despite the fact that Great Britain has made it clear that the sovereignty of the Falklands is non-negotiable.”
This week President Obama and the Organization of American States unanimously passed a vote to call for negotiation between London and Buenos Aires over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.
British diplomats have dismissed this move as posturing, but Argentina has been increasingly bullish over the islands as British firms explore the territories' islands for oil.
On the most recent decision of the Organization of American States Nile Gardiner said, “The United States should have firmly rejected the resolution as an affront to its closest ally, and as fundamentally against US interests.”
Most significantly, the resolution referred to the islands as the Malvinas, not the Falklands. Malvinas is the name used by the Argentines for the islands. The use of the name seemed deliberate as earlier this year, the British government had launched an official protest over its use by a senior State Department official.
“The Obama administration’s decision to once again slap Britain in the face over the Falklands in the face of strong British objections is yet another insult to America’s closest partner on the world stage," Gardiner said.
When questioned yesterday, the United States Foreign Office spokesperson said, “The American position is that they recognize the UK administration on the Falklands. There is no change in their overall approach.”
However, it seems that many feel that the United States' comments, and now action, are revealing a shift for the neutral position adopted by Ronald Reagan’s administration.