United Nations Secretary General’s report on the implementation of Resolution 73/295: UK statement

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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland acknowledges the considerable work of the Secretary-General and his office, during a very challenging period, in producing the report on the ‘Advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965’ published on 12 June 2020.

The United Kingdom voted against General Assembly resolution 73/295 and remains firmly of the view that the International Court of Justice and General Assembly are not the appropriate fora for resolving what is fundamentally a bilateral matter of disputed sovereignty between 2 UN member states. Nevertheless, the United Kingdom was grateful for the opportunity to provide input to this report.

The United Kingdom has no doubt about its sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago, which has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814. Mauritius has never held sovereignty over the Archipelago and we do not recognise its claim. However, we have a long-standing commitment, first made in 1965, to cede sovereignty of the territory to Mauritius when it is no longer required for defence purposes. We stand by that commitment. The United Kingdom is also committed to doing more (on a voluntary basis) to address the aspirations of Chagossians including the desire for better lives and to maintain a connection to the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). Despite our disagreement over the British Indian Ocean Territory, the United Kingdom and Mauritius remain close friends and Commonwealth partners. We remain open to dialogue on all shared issues of mutual interest, as highlighted by the friendly and constructive discussion that took place between the UK’s Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister of Mauritius on 27 April.

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