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Gibraltar Fears Communication Breakdown With UK Foreign Office

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

22 July 2002


The Gibraltar media last week expressed concern that the redeployment of senior Foreign Office diplomatic personnel back to the United Kingdom could have an adverse effect on the channels of communication between Gibraltar and the UK.

The Iberia News service reported on Friday that: 'Catherine Colloms, who was sent to Gibraltar in January to liaise with the people and media, and act as part of the diplomatic team in Gibraltar (will be) returning to the UK. The move is not seen as being a reflection of changes in Foreign Office policy, but could be significant in maintaining relationships between the main groups and the media.'

The report praised Ms Colloms, adding that: 'She filled a crucial role in tapping local response to Foreign Office policy.'

According to Iberia News, the position will not be filled by anyone new, but will be continued by existing diplomatic personnel on the Rock. However, the newspaper revealed that concern has been expressed that the rotation of personnel at the Foreign Office branch in Gibraltar does not foster the sort of coherence necessary for Gibraltar's reactions and opinions to be accurately conveyed to Whitehall.

It went on to warn that: 'The break-up of proper dialogue between the Foreign Office and Gibraltar, and the Prime Minister's refusal to meet the Chief Minister has opened up a rift between London and Gibraltar that might be difficult to repair in the future.'


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