Diego Garcia: USA

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 25th November 2008.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Labour, Islington North

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the US lease on the use of part of Diego Garcia for a military base is due for renewal; and what his policy is on whether the lease should be renewed.

Photo of Gillian Merron Gillian Merron Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

The use of the British Indian Ocean Territory is regulated by a series of bilateral agreements (Exchange of Notes) between the UK and the US. The 1966 Exchange of Notes provides that the islands of the British Indian Ocean Territory, including Diego Garcia, shall be available for defence purposes of both countries for an initial period of 50 years (until 2016) and continuing thereafter for a further period of 20 years unless terminated by either government not more than two years before the end of the initial period.

There have been no discussions with the US about the possibility of terminating the agreement. The UK and US consult closely and regularly on their mutual defence needs, including in the annual bilateral official talks on the British Indian Ocean Territory last held in London 18-19 September 2008. To date neither the UK nor the US has raised the possibility of terminating the agreement.

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