Gibraltar recriminations will 'lead nowhere', says Spain

3rd August 2004, Comments 0 comments

3 August 2004, MADRID – The "war of words" over the celebration of the 300th anniversary of Britain's seizure of Gibraltar took a new turn on Tuesday with Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos saying the build-up in reproaches from both sides "will not lead anywhere".

3 August 2004

MADRID – The "war of words" over the celebration of the 300th anniversary of Britain's seizure of Gibraltar took a new turn on Tuesday with Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos saying the build-up in reproaches from both sides "will not lead anywhere".

The Partido Popular (PP) opposition said it supported the government's stance, but regretted the "visible deterioration" in relations between Spain and the UK.

In an article in Spain's top-selling daily newspaper, El País, on Tuesday, Moratinos said the UK government had demonstrated a lack of sensibility towards Spain in recent weeks, alluding to the visits of Princess Anne and Defence Minister Geoff Hoon to the celebrations. 

He recognised Gibraltar's rights to celebrate part of its history, but said the events did "feeble service to relations with Spain." Sovereignty negotiations "cannot develop adequately in an atmosphere of confrontation," he added.

Saying that "a build up in reproaches or in confrontations will not lead anywhere", Moratinos stressed that he preferred to work calmly towards a satisfactory global agreement for all sides.

Greater cooperation, especially in the sharing of infrastructure between Gibraltar and the neighbouring districts in Andalucia, could lead to the area becoming "one of the most economically and technologically developed in the (Iberian) peninsula," he added.

For the PP, whose former leader José María Aznar had a strong personal relationship with UK premier Tony Blair, the Socialist government's "inconsistencies and errors" over its policy towards Gibraltar had led the controversy to new heights.

Never before has the situation been "so serious or so drawn out", said a PP statement released on Tuesday.

Spanish Prime Minister , José  Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, had "demonstrated a lack of capacity and influence with regard to Blair", said the PP.

Despite the criticism, the PP said it regarded the visits of Princess Anne and Defence Minister Geoff Hoon to the celebrations as "inopportune, unnecessary and disturbing" for the negotiations over sovereignty.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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