Spain’s Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenz has confirmed that there will be no further tripartite talks regarding Gibraltar whilst the dispute on issues related to sovereignty of Gibraltar territorial waters continues.
The talks hit rocks last year after an incident in which the Spanish Guardia Civil tried to exert jurisdiction over the Royal Gibraltar Police in Gibraltar waters taking a suspect forcibly into their custody during a stand-off.
In an interview with El Pais last weekend Ms Jimenez said that the Tripartite Forum is “a good instrument for its purpose, namely to deal with practical issues that affect the daily lives of the citizens of the area.”
She said that Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Peter Caruana “wanted to take to the Forum certain issues such as sovereignty and the jurisdiction of the waters that surround the Rock. The [Spanish] Government is very clear that these matters can only be dealt with bilaterally as between the UK and Spain, and so we decided not to hold [trilateral talks”.
In spite of the strong statement the truth is Spain has national elections scheduled for next November 20 when, according to the latest public opinion polls, the ruling Socialists are expected to be defeated by a margin of 12 to 14 points by the Conservatives of Mariano Rajoy.
Spanish president Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has been unable to contain his country’s plunge into recession with record unemployment and has announced he will be retiring from active politics.
The Socialists will be led into the election by Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba who has admitted that the ruling party had eight years to deflate the “real estate speculative bubble” but failed to do so.
November 20, strangely enough is the day in which 36 years ago died the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco who ruled from 1936 to 1975 following the civil war.