Page last updated at 10:51 GMT, Friday, 23 May 2008 11:51 UK

Court awards islet to Singapore


The International Court of Justice has ruled in favour of Singapore in its 29-year dispute with Malaysia over a tiny uninhabited island.

The UN court in The Hague ruled by 12 votes to four that sovereignty belonged to the Republic of Singapore.

The football field-sized island, known as Pulau Batu Puteh in Malaysia and as Pedra Branca in Singapore, is valued for its strategic position.

It is located by the Malacca Strait, which carries 40% of the world's trade.

The dispute is one of several that have soured relations between Malaysia and Singapore since they separated in 1965, after a brief union following their independence from Britain.

Malaysia said that the rocky granite outcrop on the Singapore Strait historically belonged to the sultanate of Johor, now a Malaysian state.

But Singapore argued that it had exercised sovereign rights there since the 1800s, when the British colonial government occupied it and built Horsburgh lighthouse there.

The case was referred to the court in The Hague in 2003. It agreed with Singapore and Friday's ruling was the final say in a dispute that began in 1979.

Malaysia raises water stakes
15 Feb 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Court ruling on Singapore Strait islet
09 Jan 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Malaysia
11 Mar 08 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Singapore
23 Jan 08 |  Country profiles

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