By Sergei Sayenko
The US has no concerns over the deployment of British ships around the disputed Falkland Islands in South Atlantic, the US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Tuesday.
“The UK has made it 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…We do not have concerns”, Nuland said. By making such a statement, the US has publicly admitted that on the long standing dispute between the UK and Argentina over the Falkland Islands, it is siding with London.
It would be odd to expect any other reaction from the US. Britain has always been one the America’s closest allies and London supports almost all of American activities in the international arena. Earlier this was the case with Iraq and Afghanistan and now it seems to be the case with Iran and Syria. Perhaps America decided to return the favour and thought that the Falklands dispute would provide it with a suitable opportunity to do so. There is a possibility that London could soon find this support useful because the standoff between the UK and Buenos Aires over the archipelago gets tenser by the day.
Last week, Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner accused Britain of militarizing the South Atlantic, and at the same time, Buenos-Aires submitted a complaint to the UN. It was done after Britain deployed its Trafalgar class nuclear submarine and HMS Dauntless torpedo ship to the Falklands. Earlier this week, Argentinean trade unions boycotted British planes and freight ships, refusing to provide them loading services. This has caused a bit of a panic on the Islands and resulted in shortages of some food products, eggs in particular. This probably means that Prince William, who is currently on a six-week tour of duty as a helicopter pilot in the Falklands, can’t have scrabbled eggs in the morning.
On April 2, 1982, Buenos Aires’ attempt to seize the islands by force instigated a 74-day war between Argentina and the UK. The conflict ended in Argentina’s defeat and claimed the lives of about 1,000 officers and civilians on both sides. After the war, the relations between the two countries were broken off. Only in October 1989 did the parties formally declared an end to hostilities, and in February 1990 London and Buenos Aires restored diplomatic relations. But the tension in the relations between the two countries with regard to the archipelago remained. Argentina has not given up its claim to the Falklands (Malvinas) while Britain has refused to engage in talks over the islands which it considers to be British territory. Recently, the British Prime Minister David Cameron reiterated this in his speech to parliament.
“My Honourable Friend makes an excellent point, and I am sure that everyone right across the House will want to remember the anniversary of the successful retaking of the Falkland Islands and the superb bravery, skill and courage of all our armed forces who took part in that action. We should also remember those who fell in taking back the Falklands.”
Obviously, a dialogue between Buenos Aires and London would be the best way to resolve the conflict. Last Friday, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for a dialogue urging both sides to avoid an “escalation” in tensions over the Falkland Islands. Time will show whether Britain and Argentina will heed the UN chief’s appeal.
So far, neither of the two parties has shown the flexibility or tact needed to resolve the crisis, choosing instead to trade accusations and even insults. Despite all these negative developments, we’d like to believe that both Britain and Argentina will remain prudent and that the latest standoff over the fate of the Falklands will not escalate into a new war.