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LALIT challenges Government on Diego Garcia strategy


LALIT challenged the Prime Minister, Hon Dr. Navin Ramgoolam, in a
letter yesterday to make the Government’s strategy on Diego Garcia and
Chagos public. LALIT also called for a Mauritian-sponsored UN General
Assembly Resolution on the issue to respect the dead-line for the next
session. Given the nuclear disaster unfolding in Japan, LALIT also
called on Government to make public the time-line for putting in a
request for UN inspections under the new Pelindaba Treaty body, the
Africa Commission on Nuclear Energy. Here is the content of the letter.

27 March, 2011

Dear Sir,

write to you because we understand that there is now a “task force”
under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office and that is in charge
of the strategy the State of Mauritius is adopting on the issue of
Diego Garcia and Chagos.

We write to request reassurance that
your Ministry, which runs this “task force” will be submitting a draft
resolution to the UN General Assembly, in order to gain political
support for the Mauritian claim of sovereignty and to, at the same
time, by means of this resolution, call for the UN International Court
of Justice at the Hague to consider the matter and come up with an
Advisory Opinion. This will put Mauritius in a strong position
politically and legally. We also request reassurance that the deadline
for resolutions will not be missed. And that, once a resolution is on
the agenda, that it does not subsequently, under pressure from the
powerful nation states that illegally occupy Diego Garcia and Chagos,
get withdrawn from the agenda. This has happened, we believe, in the

That is our first request.

Our second request is that you publicly outline the time-line for putting a complaint under the Pelindaba Treaty for a Nuclear Arms Free Africa now
that its Committee (Africa Commission on Nuclear Energy) has been set
up, and of which Mauritius is a member. The public needs to be informed
as to when the AFCONE will come into operation. Now that the tragedy of
the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan is becoming evident, it becomes
imperative to rid Africa of nuclear weapons. We are aware that three
nuclear submarines at the US base at Guam lost their moorings during
the recent tsunami. The recent Russian exception under Pelindaba
reminds us how grave it is for us to collude with this military base on
our territory.

This leads to our third proposal. We believe
that in the context of Constitutional Reform, Mauritius should follow
in the footsteps of countries like Equador who have outlawed all
foreign military bases from the soil and waters of their country in
their new Constitution. We support the Government's announcement made
last year that there will be a form of regional assembly for the Chagos.

wish also, at the same time, to put on record our belief that the
Government keeping a “secret strategy” runs the high risk of minimizing
support that the Mauritian State can get, instead of maximizing it.
Transparency is what helps to gain support both in Mauritius and
abroad. Mauritius has nothing to hide. By contrast, the British State
and US Administration have every interest in continuing the veil of
secrecy that they have managed to maintain around Diego Garcia and
Chagos. We, in LALIT for example, have built up a large network of
potential support for the triple struggle for complete decolonization
(i.e. the reunification of the Republic of Mauritius), base closure
(and ecological clean-up and genuine care for the environment), and the
right to return with reparations for Chagossians. In particularly, we
are in contact with large organizations in both the UK and USA that can
bring pressure to bear on their Governments. If the Government’s
strategy remains cloaked in secrecy, we are less able to mobilize

We are following the preparations as they go ahead for
the Mauritian Government’s arbitration under the UNCLOS, and we wish to
re-iterate that this tactic, on its own, is risky, and needs to be
accompanied by the UN resolution and the “advisory opinion” at The
Yours sincerely,

Lindsey Collen