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Russia: France's rule over Indian Ocean island 'illegitimate'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (Photo by AFP)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused France of snubbing United Nations resolutions and illegally holding control over its former African colony, the Indian Ocean archipelago of Mayotte.

"Despite numerous resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly on this issue, France continues to illegitimately hold Mayotte," Lavrov said Friday at a joint press conference in Moscow with Comoros Foreign Minister Souef Mohamed El Amine.

Situated between Madagascar and Mozambique, Mayotte is the single island in the Comoros archipelago that remained under French control following an independence referendum in 1974.

Although Mayotte reportedly opted to be ruled under its colonial-era power, the Comoros still claims control over it, as it is backed by several UN resolutions in a territorial dispute with France.

Lavrov further emphasized, "Countries which organized the separation of Kosovo from Serbia, Mayotte from the Comoros, and have tried several times to change regimes in countries where they considered it necessary, show blatant double standards," referring to Western countries.

Mayotte comprises two islands of Petite-Terre and Grande-Terre and currently has the administrative status of a French "department," which is almost equivalent to a county.

This entitles the island to funding and maintenance for infrastructure, medical care, as well as education just as in mainland France.

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