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Mauritius makes play for future with US base on Diego Garcia

With 99-year lease offer, archipelagic nation bypasses UK in bid to deal with Biden

A U.S. B-2 Spirit bomber stops for refueling at the U.S. military base on Diego Garcia in 2001.   © Reuters

COLOMBO -- When Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth joined other government leaders to congratulate U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, his message touched on the diplomatic storm brewing over Diego Garcia. The island hosts a secretive U.S. military base in a stretch of the Indian Ocean that lies within the archipelagic country's waters but is administered by Britain.

Mauritius, Jugnauth said this month, was prepared to renew an offer it had made to President Donald Trump's administration: a long-term lease of Diego Garcia for its continued use "as a military base by American authorities."

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