US reiterates neutrality in dispute over Falklands

16th March 2012, Comments 0 comments

The United States will remain neutral in Britain's dispute with Argentina over sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, a senior US official said Friday after British Prime Minister David Cameron's White House visit.

"Our position remains one of neutrality," the official speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP, adding that Washington also recommends a negotiated solution to the decades-long dispute.

Cameron met with President Barack Obama on Wednesday at the White House to discuss the US-British alliance.

The prime minister concluded his US trip Thursday by visiting the New York city memorial to victims of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Cameron said he discussed the Falklands with Obama, and the president said he preferred the "status quo" regarding sovereignty over the South Atlantic islands.

The roughly 3,100 residents of the Falklands prefer to remain under British protection, Cameron said, and he anticipated no changes in Britain's claim to the islands.

"The United States recognizes the de facto UK administration of the islands, but takes no position regarding the sovereignty claims of either party," the US official said.

"The US government supports UK and Argentine cooperation on practical matters and urges a peaceful resolution to the overall issue."

Cameron said the dispute has heated up ahead of the 30th anniversary of the two-month war between Britain and Argentina over control of the Falklands.

Argentine troops seized the islands on April 2, 1982, only to be routed by British forces 74 days later. In all, 649 Argentine troops, 255 British troops and three Falkland Islanders were killed in the conflict.

Adding to the renewed tensions is Britain's decision to allow offshore oil drilling near the islands, which lie 250 miles (400 kilometers) east of the South American mainland.

© 2012 AFP

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