The United Kingdom has reiterated that the sovereignty of Gibraltar is not a matter for discussion or negotiation with Spain. This follows a call by the Spanish Foreign Ministry for a resumption of bilateral dialogue with the UK over Gibraltar.
The caretaker government in Madrid issued a statement supporting Argentina's invitation to the UK to discuss the sovereignty of the Falklands, and calling on the British Government to do likewise with Spain in respect of Gibraltar. It said the territorial integrity of both Argentina and Spain are affected.
However the Gibraltar elected government pointed out that the UK has said it will not transfer the sovereignty of the Rock to another state against the wishes of its people, nor enter into a process of negotiations with which Gibraltar is not content. It emphasises that the Gibraltar government will never consent to any sovereignty talks with Spain. Therefore, Madrid's hope for a resumption of bilateral talks is at best unrealistic and at worst raising false hopes.
The Gibraltar government calls on Spain to finally enter the 21st century and abandon its medieval sovereignty claim and the aggressive manner in which it has recently pursued it.
The Spanish statement followed on Argentina’s new conservative government Sunday's 3 January statement reiterating the country’s claims on the Falklands, calling on Britain to start talks on the Islands’ sovereignty “as soon as possible”.
“In common with Argentina, Spain seeks bilateral dialogue with the United Kingdom to find a definitive solution to both issues that impact on the territorial integrity of Argentina and Spain,” the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Madrid said in a statement.
However the statement drew an immediate reaction from the British and Gibraltar governments, which both dismissed any suggestion of bilateral sovereignty talks against the wishes of the Gibraltarians.
“Our position on the sovereignty of Gibraltar is unchanged,” a spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said.
“We will protect the right of the people of Gibraltar to determine their political future. The UK will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another State against their wishes.”
“Furthermore, the UK will not enter into any process of sovereignty negotiations with which Gibraltar is not content. We believe that dialogue involving the UK, Spain and Gibraltar, remains the best means to make progress towards a better relationship with Spain over Gibraltar in the long term.”
The Gibraltar Government said in a statement that the sovereignty of Gibraltar was not a matter for discussion or negotiation with Spain.
“The United Kingdom has declared that the people of Gibraltar enjoy the right to self-determination and that we will never pass on to the sovereignty of another state against our wishes,” No 6 Convent Place said. “The UK has also agreed not to enter into a process of negotiations with Spain with which Gibraltar is not content.”
“This means that Spain’s recently expressed hope for a resumption of bilateral UK-Spain talks on the sovereignty of Gibraltar is at best unrealistic and at worst raising false hopes.”
“Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar will never consent to the United Kingdom entering into any process of talks, discussions or negotiations with Spain in respect of the Sovereignty of Gibraltar.”
“We would wish to see Spain finally come into the twenty first century and abandon its medieval claim to Gibraltar and the unacceptable way in which it has recently aggressively pursued it.”