The United States told the UN’s top court Wednesday it had “a duty” not to take a position on a bitter dispute over the British-ruled Chagos islands, home to a strategic joint US military base.
Judges at the International Court of Justice in The Hague are listening to arguments from various countries in a case brought by the United Nations over the future of the Indian Ocean archipelago, which is claimed by Mauritius.
London split off the remote islands from Mauritius in 1965, three years before Port Louis gained independence. Their status has since been at the centre of a bitter dispute spanning five decades.
US representative Jennifer Newstead said even though the UN request was for a “non-binding advisory opinion” on the row, the ICJ’s 15 judges were in fact being asked to rule in a bilateral territorial dispute.