London: Britain should more closely monitor US activity on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia to ensure American officials are not using the British territory for the rendition or interrogation of terror suspects, a group of UK lawmakers said on Saturday.
A committee of parliamentarians said the UK needs to press its ally to reveal the full extent of its activities on the remote but strategically important air base, halfway between Africa and Southeast Asia, which has been leased to the US to be used as a military base since the 1970s.
Britain`s Foreign Office had claimed the US offered assurances that the outpost has not been used to detain suspects. But in February 2008 the US acknowledged that previous denials that the island had been used by so-called extraordinary rendition flights had been wrong.
The State Department said it had misled the British government, and confirmed that two suspects had been on flights that refuelled on Diego Garcia en route to Guantanamo Bay and Morocco in 2002.
The move deeply embarrassed the British government, which insisted until early last year that the practice did not happen.
Lawmakers on the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said in a report that it is "deplorable that previous US assurances about rendition flights through Diego Garcia have turned out to be false" and said the incident had undermined Britain`s trust in US assurances.