US-British row over BP closed, relations 'excellent': Hague
British Foreign Secretary William Hague insisted Sunday that relations with the United States were "excellent" as he sought to draw a line under strains over BP and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
US President Barack Obama spoke to Prime Minister David Cameron on Saturday about his criticism of the British oil giant and assured him it had "nothing to do with national identity", amid fears it could stoke an anti-British backlash.
Asked in a BBC interview on Sunday whether the issue was now closed, Hague said: "Yes, I think so. Relations between the UK and the US are excellent."
He added: "What's really important here is the work that BP is doing and that US officials are doing to mitigate the consequences, however they can, of this catastrophic oil leak."
US ambassador to London Louis Susman told the same programme that criticism of BP's response to the oil spill was "not a diplomatic issue".
"President Obama and the administration would probably have said the same thing if it had been an American company," he said.
He added: "So while it might seem a bit undiplomatic in terms of the words, trust me it had nothing to do with the fact that it was British or American."
Susman concluded: "We feel we have no better ally, no greater friend than the United Kingdom."
Meanwhile, the Sunday Times reported that BP was considering putting several billion dollars into a ring-fenced fund to cover clean-up and compensation costs from the spill.
"We need to show we are willing to pay upfront and won't wait for litigation," an advisor to BP was quoted as saying.
© 2010 AFP