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Gibraltar: Spanish Foreign Minister Acknowledges British Sovereignty

Iberia News

14 November 2000


This story is reproduced by kind permission of Iberia News at http://www.iberianews.com

The astonishing U-turn by the Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Pique during a speech at the CSN 20th anniversary dinner, in which he not only complimented the UK Government's brave decision to allow Spanish experts on board HMS Tireless, but also acknowledge british sovereignty of Gibraltar has caused a political upheaval in Spain.

The PSOE party who have consistently claimed that Gibraltar should be returned to Spain, have condemned the Foreign Minister's speech which has given credence to the fact that Britain is the sovereign power over Gibraltar. The speech is said to have justified the British dependency's right to reject Spanish claims over Gibraltar.

Gibraltar was ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1704, and has since been a British colony. Spain has rejected any rights to territorial waters, but recent events have given rise to a view that Spain is softening its position as both the Foreign Minister accepts publicly Britain's sovereign powers over Gibraltar, and regional authorities, through the Mayor of Algecira's actions two weeks ago, accepted Gibraltar's judiciary system when making a formal complaint against the repairs to HMS Tireless after the Spanish Judiciary system rejected the case claiming it had no jurisdiction over the base.

Recent talks between Gibraltar and Spanish authorities have also shown that the long conflict over Gibraltar has began to take a secondary role as commercial interests are being put in the forefront, and the Spanish Central government seeks to create an alliance with the UK government over European issues.

Political experts believe that the Spanish claims to Gibraltar could eventually change as Europe begin to integrate into one state and nationalistic boundaries take a secondary place in the overall European structure.

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