The Island of Mauritius claims the archipelago in the Indian Ocean in its entirety, including Diego Garcia Island, where a United States military base is installed.
In 1965 the United Kingdom decided to separate the Chagos Islands from the “Diego Garcia” island and set up a military base that later remained in the hands of the United States, in the midst of the Vietnam conflict and in recent years the strategic island has become Indispensable for US military forces since their location a short distance from East Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia allows them to form a listening base and launch pad for B-52 bombers against Iraq and for military campaigns in Afghanistan.
Chagossians have spent decades fighting for the return of their islands after more than a thousand people were forced to leave in the 1960s and 1970s to make way for the base.
In turn, the International Court in The Hague ruled questioning the administration of the territory by the United Kingdom and demanding that it cease.
In a directive, the Secretary General of the United Nations Organization decisively and deliberately determined the end of Great Britain’s domination of the Chagos archipelago. The last African colony under English rule has been returned to Mauritius by decision of the high international body
The Republic of Mauritius, which gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1968, claims that the Islands belong to it and the Chagossians have fought for their return before the English courts for decades.
Secretary Cleverly said that the United Kingdom had agreed to negotiations regarding “the exercise of sovereignty” over the Islands.
The breakthrough in talks follows contacts between Liz Truss, during her brief tenure as Prime Minister, and Mauritius’s leader, Pravind Jugnauth, during the recent United Nations General Assembly in New York.
“Although the negotiations take into account relevant legal issues, it is our intention to secure an agreement based on International Law in order to resolve all pending issues, including those related to the former inhabitants of the Chagos archipelago,” Secretary Cleverly said. in a report to the British parliament.
However, the United Kingdom does not consider the court’s ruling or the UN motion binding and remains firm in its sovereignty over the islands, which dates back to Napoleonic times. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of that country stated in an official statement that “the islands will remain in British hands until they are no longer necessary for defense purposes”, adding “Mauritius has never had sovereignty, and we do not recognize its claim”.
General Assembly Welcomes International Court of Justice Opinion on Chagos Archipelago, Adopts Text Calling for Mauritius’ Complete Decolonization