The president of an exiled community of Pacific Islanders living in Crawley has met with a UK Government Minister to discuss resettlement.
Allen Vincatassin, president of the provisional president of Diego Garcia and the Chagos Islands, thanked Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds for his efforts to resolve some of their issues.
The Chagos Islands, which include Diego Garcia, are a British territory but were loaned to the US in 1965 to use as a military base. Some 2,000 islanders were deported and went on to live in slums in Mauritius. Many settled in Crawley after being granted British passports.
Their right to return was recently ruled inadmissible by the European Court of Human Rights. The case will now go before a UN Tribunal where the UK Government will have to justify its actions.
Mr Vincatassin said: “The question of resettlement is a complex issue which I believe will take sometime to be resolved, because of the treaty that the UK has with the United States on the use of Diego Garcia for defense purposes. I will be consulting with my people here in the UK to see what are their aspirations and will continue to communicate that to the UK Government.”