Cablegate: Media Reaction: Falkland Islands; 2/24/10; Buenos Aires
DE RUEHBU #0242/01 0552056
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 242055Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0630
INFO RHMCSUU/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000242
STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC, WHA/EPSC, CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KPAO KMDR PREL AR FK
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: FALKLAND ISLANDS; 2/24/10; BUENOS AIRES
1. The Falklands dispute continued to dominate Argentine media on
2/24. Most newspapers picked up remarks made by Assistant
Secretary Crowley reiterating U.S. neutrality in the conflict and
encouraging Argentina and Great Britain to resolve the issues
through direct dialogue. A/S Crowley's characterization of the
British administration of the islands generated different
interpretations in the press. Several newspapers took his remarks
that the U.S. "would consider" becoming a mediator between the
parties if they requested it a step further to suggest the U.S.
would play this role. End summary.
REPORTS OF U.S. NEUTRALITY
2. The Argentine press reported A/S Crowley's 2/23 press briefing
in which he reiterated the U.S. neutrality in the dispute.
Newspapers La Nacion (conservative) and Buenos Aires Economico
(Pro-government financial daily) headlined their articles with the
word neutrality between quotation marks, suggesting the U.S.
favored the British government. Largest circulation Clarin quoted
remarks made in 2007 by former Secretary of State Alexander Haig,
who mediated between Buenos Aires and London in 1982, saying the
U.S. "was never neutral in the conflict in the sense that we (the
U.S.) were never impartial." Using a similar tone, pro-government
newspaper Buenos Aires Economico also said Haig "admitted he was
partial" in the negotiations to protect Britain, a U.S. ally since
the Second World War.
DIFFERING INTERPRETATIONS OF U.K. "ADMINISTRATION"
3. Largest circulation Clarin said A/S Crowley "recognized
British governance (gobierno) of the islands," implying that the
U.S. was suggesting it acknowledged British sovereignty over the
Falklands Islands. Clarin's correspondent in Washington later
cited comments made by former Argentine Ambassador to the UN Lucio
Garcia del Solar as saying, "As far as I can remember, it is the
first time the U.S. says it acknowledges the British governance
(gobierno) in the islands." Clarin also quoted a source of the
Argentine government as saying Crowley's comments "were not
harmful, because Crowley did not recognize the government of the
islanders, and he made clear that any dialogue should take place
between the parties, which means Argentina and Great Britain."
Conservative La Nacion reported instead that A/S Crowley said the
U.S. "recognized the British administration of the islands."
Left-of-center Pagina 12 also reported the U.S. recognized British
"administracion" (in quotes) of the Falklands.
EXPECTIONS OF U.S. MEDIATOR ROLE
4. Most papers also highlighted A/S Crowley's remarks that the
U.S. "would consider" playing the role of mediator if requested by
the parties. Although several dailies provided direct translation
of his remarks, others, such as La Nacion, took A/S Crowley's
remarks a step further suggesting the U.S. would accept such a
role. The online edition of La Nacion reported Secretary Clinton
"would be willing to 'mediate' between Buenos Aires and London."
PRO GOVERNMENT PRESS HOLDS BRITISH "HAWKS" LIABLE FOR TENSIONS
5. Pagina 12 also published an opinion article signed by Martin
Granovsky, the head of state-run news agency Telam, with the
headline "The invention of a war in Malvinas (Falklands)" in which
he analyzed the role of the British conservatives and the press in
the conflict. He said it is reasonable for Argentina not to react
with any military action after Britain announced it would start oil
drilling in the islands. Granovsky says "this would only follow
the game of the British hawks." Granovsky criticizes British press
saying conservative "hawks" in London are "feeding the powerful
(British) tabloids", setting the country's agenda.
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