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British Indian Ocean Territory

Volume 724: debated on Tuesday 13 December 2022

1. What recent progress he has made on negotiations on the sovereignty of the British Indian Ocean Territory. (902757)

I can confirm that negotiations have begun. Officials from the UK and Mauritius met at the end of last month and had constructive discussions. The UK and Mauritius have reiterated that any agreement will ensure the continued effective operation of the joint UK-US defence facility on Diego Garcia, and we will be meeting again to continue negotiations shortly.

What consultations are being held with members of the Chagossian community in my constituency and around the UK ahead of any proposed changes to the British Indian Ocean Territory?

I recognise my hon. Friend’s championing of the Chagossian community in his constituency. He will recognise that there is a diversity of views in the various Chagossian communities in Mauritius, the UK and the Seychelles. We will of course take those views seriously, but the negotiations are between the UK and Mauritius. We will ensure that we continue to engage with those communities through this negotiating process.

Do the UK Government now accept the finding of the International Court of Justice that the process of the decolonisation of Mauritius was not lawfully completed in 1968 and that the UK’s continued administration of the Chagos archipelago constitutes a wrongful act?

The UK has expressed regret about the manner in which the Chagossians were removed in the late 1960s and the 1970s, but we are working constructively with the Mauritius Government and, as I say, one of the strong principles that underpins the negotiation is the reiteration that the UK and US defence facility on Diego Garcia will continue.