The Washington Diplomat quotes Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham on upcoming talks between the United States, Great Britain and Mauritius on the future of the Chagos archipelago, which includes Diego Garcia:
The British government, which receives no money for leasing Diego Garcia to the Americans, declined to comment on the dispute, calling it a confidential legal matter.
But J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, says Meetarbhan’s argument is “absurd” and has no legal merit whatsoever.
“The fact is, Great Britain was the acknowledged sovereign of the British Empire’s East Indian Ocean territories,” Pham told us. “It chose to divide Diego Garcia and neighboring islands from the rest of Mauritius before independence, and then subsequently gave Mauritius independence and chose to lease Diego Garcia to the United States. Mauritius claims they had no right to redraw the border.”
By that logic, Pham said, southern Somalia must be returned to Kenya — the country that territory once belonged to before Britain gave it to Italy as a reward for the Italians entering World War I on the Allied side.