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UK Supports Self-Determination of Gibraltar

Source: Mercopress - Thu 13th Mar 2014
UK Supports Self-Determination of Gibraltar

"The current constitution of Gibraltar already includes the assurance that the UK will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their wishes."

"Furthermore, this Government have repeated the assurances given by the previous Government that the UK will not enter into a process of sovereignty negotiations with which Gibraltar is not content."

"For as long as the people of Gibraltar wish to retain British sovereignty, we will continue to work with their elected representatives to ensure that they can pursue their legitimate interests unhindered by unreasonable and illegal actions by any nation, but of course most recently by Spain."

"However, it is also clear that co-operation between Gibraltar and Spain offers many benefits to people on both sides of the border."

"Fostering that co-operation remains in everyone's interests, and with the support of the Government of Gibraltar, remains our long-term aim too."

When news emerged last November that a British diplomatic bag had been opened by Spanish guards at the border with Gibraltar, the British Government reacted furiously despite Spain's efforts to play down the matter.

According to Baroness Warsi British officials were so angry that the Spanish ambassador to London, Federico Trillo, had been summoned at the time for a ticking off. That means Britain summoned the Spanish ambassador last year not twice, as was previously thought, but on three occasions, two of them within the space of a week.

During the debate on Gibraltar in the House of Lords, Baroness Warsi, referred briefly to the diplomatic bag incident in response to questions from Tory peer Lord Patten.

"We did indeed summon the Spanish ambassador and subsequently received assurances that it would not happen again, and to date it has not," she said.

The British Government made strong public protests at the time – including an intervention by PM David Cameron – but until now had refused to comment on whether Ambassador Trillo had been called in.

Just last week, Europe Minister David Lidington answered a question in the House of Commons and said the ambassador had been "publicly" summoned just twice, making no mention of the third occasion. But the revelation sheds further light on just how tense relations between the UK and Spain had been last November.

The first was on August 2, 2013, when Trillo was summoned in order to underline the British Government's serious concerns regarding delays at the Gibraltar-Spain border. The second was on November 19, 2013, when he was summoned following a 22-hour unlawful incursion by the Spanish oceanographic research vessel Ramon Margalef into British Gibraltar territorial waters. Within the space of a week, he was back in the Foreign Office once again to answer questions about the diplomatic bag.

Read the timeline of the ongoing conflict over Gibraltar by clicking the link > HERE <

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