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Collector coins of Britain's uninhabited overseas territories

Started by <k>, August 24, 2013, 11:17:40 PM

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UK suffers crushing defeat in UN vote on Chagos Islands

The United Nations general assembly has overwhelmingly backed a motion condemning Britain's occupation of the remote Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean.

The vote, which left the UK diplomatically isolated, set a six-month deadline for the UK to withdraw from the archipelago and for it to be reunified with neighbouring Mauritius.

The motion, drafted by Senegal on behalf of African states, was backed by 116 countries. Only five – the US, Hungary, Israel, Australia and the Maldives – voted with the UK and 56 abstained.

The UK's closest European allies, including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland and Romania, chose to abstain. Others, among them Austria, Greece, Ireland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, voted for the UK to relinquish sovereignty.
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I am glad about the decision and hope it will eventually lead to the return of the Chagossians who have had to wait for this way too long. The 6-month deadline until November 22 is probably a bit short though. Disappointing that my country abstained from voting.


Quote from: <k> on May 22, 2019, 08:08:14 PM
The UK's closest European allies, including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland and Romania, chose to abstain.

There's a lesson here somewhere. If only we could find it.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.


Quote from: Figleaf on May 22, 2019, 10:01:16 PM
There's a lesson here somewhere. If only we could find it.


Some would probably call it diplomacy. Personally I think they failed to set their own interests aside for what clearly appeared to be the greater good.


The deadline for the return of the Chagos Islands has now passed. Shortly after the deadline passed at midnight, the PM of Mauritius called the UK "an illegal colonial occupier".

In response, a Foreign Office spokesperson said: "The UK has no doubt as to our sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), which has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814. Mauritius has never held sovereignty over the BIOT and the UK does not recognise its claim."


From the Guardian (UK):

Chagos Islanders demand say as UK-Mauritius sovereignty talks begin

From The Conversation:

Why Britain should immediately withdraw from Mauritius' Chagos Islands

Time to buy some British Indian Ocean Territory collector pieces? Will they soon become outrageously valuable? Perhaps not.  :-X
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As infamously valuable as the ISIS coins maybe? I don't think so, and yes that could be a bit harsh (not sure what chagosians think), but it deserves to be in the same sentence ;)


Britain's plan to hand over 'unsinkable aircraft carrier' island in the Indian Ocean to Chinese ally Mauritius sparks row with US

Diplomatic tensions with Washington were growing last night after Britain was poised to surrender a UK-owned territory to a close ally of China – even though the island hosts a highly sensitive Anglo-American military base.

Diego Garcia, which was first claimed by the UK in 1814, is likely to be handed to Mauritius as part of a transfer of sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory, which comprises some 60 islands in the Chagos Archipelago.

The Mail on Sunday understands the White House has expressed 'serious concerns' about the plans due to the concentration of military hardware at the Naval Support Facility on the island, which has been called 'the unsinkable aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean'. The British base, which is leased to the US Navy, is home to some 1,700 military personnel and 1,500 civilian contractors, and includes port facilities, an airstrip capable of handling large aircraft, a support structure for submarine fleets, a sophisticated radar nerve centre and US Space Operations Command. The Pentagon fears Beijing is looking for a similar military foothold in the region and even possibly on Diego Garcia. Washington is increasingly concerned by the growing relationship between Mauritius and China. The two countries have already signed a free trade agreement as part of Beijing's 'Belt and Road Initiative' towards economic dominance.

News of the rising tensions came as world leaders yesterday warned China to halt its 'malign practices' and start 'playing by the rules'. In a strongly worded statement, leaders of the G7, including Joe Biden, Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron, told China that they are no longer prepared to tolerate its 'economic coercion' and military expansionism. The leaders stated that while they are willing to build 'constructive and stable relations with China', that can only happen if the Communist superpower 'plays by international rules'. Concern about Beijing's rise has been a key theme of the summit, as has its recent sabre-rattling towards Taiwan.

Last night, senior Tory MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith urged the Government to draw up a new agreement with Mauritius to resolve the 'strategic mess' over Diego Garcia. He told The Mail on Sunday: 'The UK, with the USA, has to bring Mauritius on side with us, not with China. And that's got to happen now. 'The Government can't withdraw from there. They have got to come up with another agreement with Mauritius which will be more expensive but strategically critical.'

Last night, a senior Government source acknowledged that the US had expressed concerns about the move, which comes after international political and legal pressure. However, they added: 'We are in constant contact with the Americans about it.'

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden has been tasked by No 10 with trying to assuage the Americans' worries. One option is for the UK to take out a 99-year lease on the islands after sovereignty is transferred – similar to the arrangement London agreed with Peking in 1898 over Hong Kong, which was then returned to China in 1997.

The Government has previously rejected Mauritian claims over the islands, insisting that it would cede sovereignty only when the territory is no longer needed by Britain for defence purposes. But following international pressure, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly agreed to broker an agreement backed by international law to 'resolve all outstanding issues' while ensuring the effective operation of the base.

Foreign Office lawyers have advised that an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice saying that the UK should return the islands to Mauritius, which has been endorsed by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, means that a negotiated settlement will need to be found.  A source said: 'The legal advice is that we have to roll over to avoid a prolonged legal case, but the Americans have made their serious concerns clear.'

Since 2013, China has been using its Belt and Road Initiative to finance big projects in poor countries around the world – making them politically and economically indebted to Beijing and sucking them into its sphere of influence.

The UK supports American efforts to counter Chinese economic power, but has been more hesitant than Washington about criticising Beijing, with China 'doves' in the Government warning about the possible impact on future trade deals.

The Foreign Office said: 'The UK and Mauritius have held three rounds of constructive negotiations on the exercise of sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory/Chagos Archipelago. 'Officials will meet again shortly to continue negotiations. The UK and Mauritius have committed to protecting the operational effectiveness of the joint UK/US military base on Diego Garcia, which performs a vital role for regional and global security. 'The UK and Mauritius are close Commonwealth partners and negotiations also include increasing our co-operation on matters of shared interest in the region and more broadly. It would not be appropriate to discuss this issue or to speculate on outcomes while negotiations are ongoing.'