Start of negotiations between Mauritius and London on the Chagos Islands

The United Kingdom and Mauritius have begun discussions on the sovereignty of the disputed Chagos Archipelago, the Mauritian Prime Minister announced.
The Chagos are at the heart of a dispute that dates back more than five decades. Since 1965, the archipelago has been administered by London, which decided to install a joint military base with the United States on the main island of Diego Garcia. Mauritius gained its independence in 1968, but the Chagos Islands, located to the northeast of Mauritius, remained under British administration.
“The latest developments on the Chagos issue are very encouraging. Negotiations between Mauritius and Britain have started,” Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth announced in a New Year’s address.
Mauritius claims the territory of the Chagos Islands and has since 1975 multiplied legal proceedings to obtain the return of the archipelago to its fold.
A resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in May 2019 called on “the United Nations and all its specialized agencies to recognize the Chagos Archipelago as an integral part of the territory of Mauritius, to support the decolonization of Mauritius at the earliest possible date and to refrain from obstructing this process by recognizing or giving effect to any measure taken by or on behalf of the ‘British Indian Ocean Territory.
The resolution followed a similar ruling by the International Court of Justice a few months earlier.
The United Kingdom expelled about 2,000 Chagos residents to Mauritius and the Seychelles to make way for the U.S. military base. Mauritians from the Chagos accuse the UK of “illegal occupation.”
In 2016, the U.K. extended a contract on the use of the military base with the U.S. until 2036.The base played a strategic role during the Cold War and in the 2000s during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.