House of Lords written question – answered on 10th February 2010.

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Photo of Lord Wallace of Saltaire Lord Wallace of Saltaire Deputy Leader in the House of Lords, Spokesperson for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they last held bilateral discussions with the government of Mauritius on the future sovereignty of the British Indian Ocean Territory.

Photo of Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Minister of State (Africa and UN)

While the UK has no doubt about its sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), my right honourable friend the Prime Minister agreed with the Mauritian Prime Minister, Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam, to establish a dialogue between officials. A meeting between UK and Mauritian officials was held at the FCO on 14 January 2009, and a further one in Port Louis on 21 July.

The delegations discussed the latest legal and policy developments relating to BIOT. Both delegations set out their respective positions on sovereignty and the UK also set out how the UK needed to bear in mind its treaty obligations with the US and our ongoing need of the British Indian Ocean Territory for defence purposes. There was mutual discussion of fishing rights, the environment, continental shelf and future visits to the Territory by Chagossians.

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