British Indian Ocean Territory: Sovereignty

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered at on 12 June 2023.

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Photo of The Bishop of Durham The Bishop of Durham Bishop

To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Statement by the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs on 3 November 2022 (HCWS354), what progress they have made, and what steps they still plan to take, to resolve outstanding issues in relation to the exercise of sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory/Chagos Archipelago, including those relating to the return of former inhabitants of the Chagos Archipelago.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK and Mauritius have held four rounds of constructive negotiations on the exercise of sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT)/Chagos Archipelago. The Foreign Secretary's Written Ministerial Statement (UIN HCWS645) of 17 March 2023 stated that the UK and Mauritius had welcomed the progress to date and agreed to continue negotiations. Negotiations are being held in private, so we cannot speculate on possible outcomes nor pre-empt their conclusions.

We recognise this is an important issue for many Chagossians. While the negotiations are between the UK and Mauritius, we are engaging with the Chagossian communities as negotiations progress.

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