“We have built a massive runway. We have emplaced forces on the ground, we have sophisticated early warning systems. It is a different package. To compare the way we dealt with the issues in 1982 with today is nonsense,” he said.
ir Mark Lyall Grant, Britain’s Ambassador to the UN, said: “As British ministers have made clear, the UK has no doubt about its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands . . . We are also clear that the Falkland Islands Government is entitled to develop a hydrocarbons industry within its waters, and we support this legitimate business in Falklands’ territory.”
Senior US officials insisted that Washington’s position on the Falklands was one of longstanding neutrality. This is in stark contrast to the public backing and vital intelligence offered by President Reagan to Margaret Thatcher once she had made the decision to recover the islands by force in 1982.
“We are aware not only of the current situation but also of the history, but our position remains one of neutrality,” a State Department spokesman told The Times. “The US recognises de facto UK administration of the islands but takes no position on the sovereignty claims of either party.”
Kevin Casas-Zamora, a Brookings Institution analyst and former vice-president of Costa Rica, said that President Reagan’s support for Britain in 1982 “irked a lot of people in Latin America”.
The Obama Administration “is trying to split the difference as much as it can because it knows that coming round to the British position would again create a lot of ill will in the region”, he said.
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