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Britain And Spain Reject Gib Referendum Plans

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

29 July 2002


Responding to UK Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw's July 12 announcement on the sovereignty of Gibraltar, Chief Minister, Peter Caruana revealed last Thursday that the jurisdiction intends to held a referendum in October to strip the partial agreement reached by the British and Spanish governments of its legitimacy.

In a statement last week, Mr Caruana announced that: 'I have said on several occasions before now that if the British government conceded the principle of joint sovereignty and delayed in staging a referendum, we would conduct a referendum ourselves.' He continued:

'Accordingly, after careful consideration and weighing up of the pros and cons, and after wide consultation in Gibraltar and amongst our friends and supporters outside Gibraltar, the government has decided that we will conduct our own referendum. The purpose of this is to make Gibraltar's view on joint or any Spanish sovereignty absolutely clear in a democratically conventional manner.'

However, the UK and Spain were quick to respond to the Chief Minister's pronouncement, with the Foreign Office stating that it would not respect the results of a referendum called 'simply to reject the policies of HM Government'.

Commenting on Mr Caruana's announcement, Spanish Foreign Minister, Ana Palacio stated that: 'This does not concern us in Spain,' explaining that: 'The Minister for Europe, Peter Hain made it clear that any referendum not endorsed by the UK government has no validity.'


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