Clegg urges U.S. to tone down BP rhetoric

June 11, 2010 at 9:30 AM
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MADRID, June 11 (UPI) -- British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg warned Friday "megaphone diplomacy" won't help solve the disaster created by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Clegg, in Spain for an economics forum, voiced his displeasure after U.S. President Barack Obama said he would fire BP President and Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward and was wanting to know "whose ass to kick" over the environmental nightmare that began April 20, when a Transocean rig leased by BP exploded, killing 11 workers, then sank into the gulf two days later, spewing oil ever since, The Daily Telegraph reported.

"I'm not going to start intervening in a debate which clearly risks descending into megaphone diplomacy," Clegg told an audience at the Nueva Economic Forum in Madrid. "I think everyone is united on both sides of Atlantic obviously, quite rightly, and understandably within U.S. administration and I'm sure within BP itself, to deal with this problem. It is an ecological catastrophe -- It does need to be dealt with."

Clegg stopped short of voicing support for the British company, which has watched its stock plummet since oil began leaking into the gulf and befouling coastlines, marshes and wildlife.

Clegg said he and "the whole of the British government" want to work constructively to find a solution to the environmental disaster, the Telegraph said.

"I don't frankly think we will reach a solution to stopping release of oil into the ocean any quicker by allowing this to spiral into a tit for tat political diplomatic spat," he said.

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