Malvinas/Gibraltar in Garcia Margallo’s agenda when he visits Argentina and meets Timerman
Spain’s Foreign affairs ministry Director General Ignacio Ibañez confirmed that Spain’s Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo, would raise Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands with his Argentine counterpart, Hector Timerman, during a visit to Buenos Aires in early September.
But he said that these were issues on which Spain and Argentina had already shared common ground in the past during discussions at the UN. On the current dispute over Gibraltar, he said Spain remained cautiously open to dialogue.
“We are ready to discuss but to discuss we need an environment where you trust each other and, with what happened over the fisheries, it is difficult to trust the UK” Ibañez was quoted by the BBC.
In a separate interview on UK Channel 4, Ibañez shared Spain’s long term view that it would one day regain sovereignty over the Rock.
“We are confident that in the end that we will have Gibraltar as part of Spain,” the Spanish diplomat said. His comments drew a sharp response from Tory MP John Baron, who sits on the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee.
“I think this is wishful thinking,” Mr Baron said. “This smacks of a country desperate to divert attention away from its domestic political and economic woes.”
“The people of Gibraltar have spoken in a referendum and our position is absolutely clear that Gibraltar will remain British.”
In related news it was announced that minister García-Margallo, will brief the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Spanish Parliament on Gibraltar during the first fortnight of September.
García-Margallo requested the appearance himself last Monday, though the PSOE Opposition had also called for the briefing.
From London “The Times” revealed that the British Government could block Spanish initiatives in the European Union if Madrid does not ease off in its campaign against Gibraltar.
The Times reported that Britain could wage “a campaign of sabotage” against Spain in the EU.
This was just one of the ways of punishing Madrid being considered by British officials in response to any further escalation of tensions over Gibraltar, the newspaper reported.
Among the ideas being considered is the possibility of disrupting Spanish activity in Brussels, by vetoing its nominations for committees or blocking policy proposals.
Officials are examining ways of disrupting tourism, one of the few areas of the Spanish economy that has remained strong throughout its financial crisis, The Times said.
Britain believes that Spain is conscious of the damage that it could do if it decided to turn the screws.
“If they were taking significant steps with Gibraltar, the cost would be far higher to them than it would to us,” a diplomatic source told the UK newspaper.
“We could make life difficult for them”, said the sources. “They know we could hurt them if we wanted to”.