Spain and Britain vow to continue talks over Gibraltar
7 September 2007, MADRID - (AFP) - Britain and Spain vowed Thursday to continue to their talks over the future Gibraltar, a British territory claimed by Spain on the southern Spanish coast which has been the source of tension for decades.
7 September 2007
MADRID - (AFP) - Britain and Spain vowed Thursday to continue to their talks over the future Gibraltar, a British territory claimed by Spain on the southern Spanish coast which has been the source of tension for decades.
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said tripartite talks involving the government of Spain, Britain and Gibraltar were "working very satisfactorily" and would continue.
"We are now working to reach a definitive solution," he told a joint news conference with his visiting British counterpart David Miliband.
"Spain will always maintain its position regarding Gibraltar but always within a constructive spirit to reach a final solution regarding the Gibraltar dispute," he added.
The tripartite talks began in December 2004 following the coming to power in Spain of Socialist Prime Minster Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
Spain had previously refused to let Gibraltar have an equal say at negotiations.
"I think the trilateral forum, from all the briefings that I have had, has already shown its value and I think future meetings will show their value too," said Miliband.
The tripartite talks produced a series of agreements in September 2006 aimed at improving living conditions for Gibraltar's roughly 30,000 residents, including one that allowed joint commercial use of the territory's airport.
This allowed for direct flights from Spain and the rest of Europe to Gibraltar. Spain had before blocked flights to the tiny territory, making it only possible to fly there from Britain.
Britain gained sovereignty over Gibraltar, a strategically located rocky outcrop at the western mouth of the Mediterranean, in 1713 under the Treaty of Utrecht. Spain continues to claim sovereignty over the territory.
The European Union has pressured Spain and Britain to resolve the issue of Gibraltar's status.
But Spain's insistence on eventually acquiring full sovereignty, and Britain's determination to retain full control of Gibraltar's military base, have been among the stumbling blocks.
In a 2002 referendum the people of Gibraltar resoundingly rejected the idea of joint sovereignty.
[Copyright AFP with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news