THE BLOG

The US State Department Ignores the 99.8% of Falkland Islanders Who Want to Remain British

13/03/2013 10:30 GMT | Updated 12/05/2013 10:12 BST

This has been a historic week for the Falkland Islanders. 1,518 ballots were cast during their recent referendum equaling 92% of the electorate. Of these, 99.8 percent voted to stay British - only three residents voted otherwise. The vote was considered to be both free and fair by election observers from South American countries. This outcome sent a clear message that the inhabitants of the Falkland Islands want to remain a part of the United Kingdom as a British Overseas Territory.

This referendum was not about a bunch of rocks and islands in the South Atlantic - it was about the people living there. Since the referendum results were announced, senior figures in the United Kingdom have called on the world to recognize the outcome as the final say regarding the status of the Falkland Islands.

David Cameron quickly congratulated the Falkland Islands government and said "Now other countries right across the world, I hope, will respect and revere this very, very clear result".

Foreign secretary William Hague said "All countries should accept the results of this referendum and support the Falkland islanders as they continue to develop their home and their economy".

Even before the referendum took place Her Majesty's Ambassador to the United States, Sir Peter Westmacott, wrote: "We hope that the entire international community, including our friends in the U.S., will join Britain in affirming the democratic rights of a small and peaceful island community".

So will the US back the Falkland Islanders' fundamental right of self-determination and recognize the outcome of the referendum as their wish to remain British?

Sadly, the answer is no.

On Tuesday afternoon, at the daily US State Department press conference, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that the US took "note" of the outcome. She also parroted the Obama administration line of calling for negotiations by adding that all sides should "be constructive in their approach and focus their own efforts on a resolution".

Last month in London secretary of state John Kerry embarrassed the US when he said, "I'm not going to comment, nor is the President, on a referendum that has yet to take place and hasn't taken place". Now that the referendum has taken place, the US will still not back the Falkland Islanders' right to choose who governs them. This is another slap in the face of the Anglo-American Special Relationship.

Of course, neither the Falkland Islanders nor the UK need America's support for the referendum but the US should back its allies. All the Falkland Islanders are asking for is recognition of their right to self-determination - a right guaranteed by the United Nations Charter and a key principle on which America was founded in 1776. It is embarrassing to think that President Obama, the leader of the free world, will not back such a fundamental right.

The Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC, produced an excellent video regarding the US position on the Falklands. Perhaps it would benefit President Obama and secretary Kerry to take three minutes from their busy days and watch it.