Saturday, October 2, 2010

UK opposes Maldives continental shelf claim

The United Kingdom has opposed the Maldives claim for the extended continental shelf off its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), The Guardian newspaper reported.

The border between the south of Maldives and British overseas territory Diego Garcia was not marked when the Maldives claimed for 168,000 square kilometres of the Indian Ocean seabed on July 26.

The paper reported that the UK filed its formal opposition at the United Nations aimed at protecting [UK’s] national interests in the Chagos Islands as the area claimed by the Maldives may encroach upon British overseas territory. The native population of Chagos Islands was expelled 40 years ago to establish a US airbase on the largest atoll of the archipelago, Diego Garcia.

The Guardian quoted the letter sent to the UN on August 9 as saying that the submission of the Republic of the Maldives does not take full account of the 200 nautical miles Fisheries and Environment Zones of the British Indian Ocean Territory. The UK promises to formalise these boundaries [with the Maldives] at the earliest opportunity.

On the other hand, leaders of the exiled Chagossians contrast the rapidity with which the UK Foreign Office defended its interests with the protracted refusal to permit them to return to the islands, the newspaper said. agencies


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