Spain lifts Gibraltar cruise ships ban
2 September 2004
MADRID – The Spanish government is to lift restrictions on cruise ships calling into port at the British dependent territory of Gibraltar, to which Madrid lays claim, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday.
The spokesman confirmed reports published Thursday in the Spanish daily El Mundo which said the Spanish were to drop the three-year-old policy which had fomented ill-feeling between London and Madrid.
That ill-feeling reached a high point last month when Britain sent a ministerial delegation to attend Gibraltar’s celebrations marking 300 years of British rule.
In May Britain made its unhappiness known via diplomatic representations to the Spanish authorities after Gibralter estimated it was losing out on the visit of some 20 vessels a year.
Last Saturday saw Spanish officials sit down with their Gibraltarian counterparts, including the territory’s chief minister Peter Caruana, who had not had talks with ranking Spanish officials since November 2001.
Following a private dinner Madrid dubbed the meeting “cordial and constructive”.
In 2002, Caruana won 99 percent of the vote in a referendum on Anglo-Spanish attempts to reach a co-sovereignty deal, after which London said it would have to be contingent on consent.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news