The United States government virtually ruled out any further review of the investigation into the Bhopal industrial disaster of 1984, and in particular, refused to discuss the extradition of American citizen Warren Anderson, CEO of Union Carbide behind the leak of poisonous gasses that led to the deaths of many thousands of people.
Speaking to media here shortly after an Indian court announced the conviction of the seven accused in the case, Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, said, “Let me just say that we hope this verdict today helps to bring some closure to the victims and their families. But I do not expect this verdict to reopen any new inquiries or anything like that.”
Mr. Blake underscored the United States’ unwillingness to take the matter any further at its end, saying, “On the contrary, we hope that this is going to help to bring closure.” However, he acknowledged, “With respect to Bhopal, obviously that was one of the greatest industrial tragedies and industrial accidents in human history.” He also said the announcement made by the Indian courts was “an internal matter to India”.
In response to a question on whether the U.S. would be more receptive to any requests for extradition of Mr. Anderson or other American officials connected with the Bhopal disaster Mr. Blake said, “On the question of extradition — as a matter of policy we never discuss extradition so I cannot comment on that.”
Mr. Blake also did not comment on a question regarding whether the U.S. would be willing to exert any pressure on Dow Chemicals for compensation to victims, as the administration is currently doing in the case of British Petroleum and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
At the State Department, spokesman P.J. Crowley struck a relatively positive note, saying, “Our economies are increasingly closely connected. So I certainly would hope that this particular case does not inhibit the continuing expansion of economic, cultural, and political ties between our two countries.” He added, “We fully expect that this will not be the case.”