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US backs UK's sovereignty over Diego Garcia, other islands in Indian Ocean

In a statement, the US State Department said it opposed a resolution of the dispute through the International Court of Justice as it would set a wrong precedent

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Diego Garcia
Diego Garcia, the largest island in the Chagos archipelago and site of a major United States military base in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Photo: Reuters

The United States Monday said it supports over the strategically important islands in the Indian Ocean, including Diego Garcia, and supported bilateral resolution of the dispute between United Kingdom and Mauritius.

In a statement, the US State Department said it opposed a resolution of the dispute through the Court of Justice as it would set a wrong precedent.

The United States supports the United Kingdom's continued sovereignty over the British Territory (BIOT) and the April 30 statement of the UK government, State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.

"The joint US-UK military base on Diego Garcia plays a critical role in the maintenance of regional and global peace and security," she said.

Ortagus said the United States views the BIOT issue as a purely bilateral dispute between the UK and Mauritius, which can and should be addressed through efforts by both parties.

The United States remains concerned about the precedent the Court of Justice (ICJ) could set for all UN member states.

UN General Assembly advisory opinion requests should not be used to litigate bilateral disputes, particularly when a state directly involved has not consented to the jurisdiction of the ICJ, she said.

First Published: Tue, May 07 2019. 08:00 IST
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