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UK Foreign Office Denies July Deadline For Gibraltar Talks

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

02 July 2002


The Panorama news service reported this week that the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office is now trying to edge away from previous announcements that the planned deadline for the conclusion of the Anglo-Spanish talks on the sovereignty of Gibraltar is the end of July.

Analysing coverage of the failure of British and Spanish Foreign Ministers, Jack Straw and Josep Pique to reach any agreement during a working dinner last Wednesday, the news service noted 'the absence of the oft-repeated statement of reaching a conclusion by the end of next month.'

In a special report on the issue, published at the weekend, Panorama went further, claiming that: 'the Foreign Office is now openly admitting that it may not be able to announce a Declaration of Principles before the end of next month'.

The report went on to quote an unnamed FCO Spokesman as revealing that: 'We have never said July. We said the target was to reach the agreement if possible by the end of the summer.'

That's very cunning, because as everyone in England knows, summer hasn't yet begun, and so won't have an end this year.

However, according to Labour backbencher, Lindsay Hoyle, head of the all-party Gibraltar Group in the UK, the talks are drawing to a close.

'I think the talks are now about how Britain and Spain can come out and save face,' he told Panorama.


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