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Cablegate: Mauritius, France, Tromelin and Chagos/Diego Garcia

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RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHPL #0024 0270724
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 270724Z JAN 10 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY PORT LOUIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4947
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0007
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHPIGXW/CJTF HOA
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE

UNCLAS PORT LOUIS 000024

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PBTS TE FR IO MP
SUBJECT: MAURITIUS, FRANCE, TROMELIN AND CHAGOS/DIEGO GARCIA

1. Tromelin is a low, flat, 200-acre scrub-covered island
between Mauritius and Madagascar which is uninhabited (except
for a few technicians at a weather station) and has no
harbors. It is currently a French territory governed from
Reunion -- but is claimed by both Mauritius and France
(Mauritius argues that it was occupied illegally by France in
1954). The island itself is of little consequence but it is
surrounded by a 110,000 square-mile maritime Exclusive
Economic Zone (EEZ), contiguous to that of Reunion.

2. For the last year, Mauritius and France have been
discussing the possible economic, environmental and
scientific "joint management" of Tromelin, focusing
particularly on protection of the marine environment and
measures against illegal fishing in the EEZ, The proposed
accord will last for five years. The next meeting of the two
sides will take place in Mauritius February 4. Mauritius is
insisting that any "joint-management" accord will not affect
the Mauritian claim of sovereignty over the island. Prime
Minister Rangoolam has announced his intention to visit
Tromelin later this year.

3. COMMENT: The polite Mauritius-France discussions regarding
Tromelin are in marked contrast to the frosty diplomatic
chill hanging over the Mauritius-UK negotiations concerning
Chagos/Diego Garcia (islands similarly claimed by Mauritius).
The UK last year unilaterally proposed a vast Marine
Protected Area surrounding the Chagos, which Mauritius has
strongly opposed (arguing that any such proposal should be
the result of direct bilateral negotiations between Mauritius
and the UK). END COMMENT.
WALKLEY

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