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Strong Indications That Gibraltar Agreement Faces Delay, Says Report

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

24 June 2002


Reports in the Gibraltarian media last week revealed that there is a strong possibility that the self-imposed deadline for reaching an agreement over the sovereignty of Gibraltar may not be met by the United Kingdom and Spain.

Referring both to remarks made by UK Minister for Europe, Peter Hain last week, and to the fact that several meetings between the British Foreign Secrectary, Jack Straw, and his Spanish counterpart, Josep Pique have been postponed, the Panorama news service on Friday suggested that there is optimism on the Rock that the process may grind to a permanent halt.

Responding to a question in the House of Commons last week, Prime Minister Tony Blair promised that: 'There is no change and can be no change to the constitutional status of Gibraltar without the consent of the people there.'

However this, according to Panorama, represents the first stumbling block to negotiating progress: 'This is what Madrid does not want to accept. They see this as an act of self-determination and they argue that sovereignty is a matter for Britain and Spain only,' the newspaper reported on Friday.

The article concluded that: 'Leaving the military aspect aside, the situation now requires movement by either side. Britain, it seems, has gone as far as it can go - and many will say she has gone too far. The ball is now with the Spaniards. Do they want the deal or not?'

The UK and Spanish Foreign Ministers are due to meet again this week.


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