Uruguayan president Tabare Vazquez is off to Europe for a two-week business and academic interests trip which begins on Friday in Spain and will continue in the Vatican, Austria and France. On Friday, Vazquez is scheduled to hold a private meeting with King Felipe IV of Spain, and on Monday with president Mariano Rajoy.
The UN General Assembly’s Fourth Committee adopted this week a consensus decision setting out the conflicting positions of the British and Spanish governments on Gibraltar, and including – for the first time – Britain’s double-lock commitment on sovereignty. The decision was agreed by Britain and Spain despite the starkly contrasting views set out at the last session of the Fourth Committee in October, as reported by the Gibraltar Chronicle.
Gibraltar “is part of the UK” and its particular circumstances will be reflected in Britain’s exit deal from the EU, the UK’s ambassador to Spain said this week, adding that co-sovereignty was not an option. Simon Manley made the comments in a wide-ranging interview on Brexit published by La Nueva España newspaper on Wednesday.
José Manuel García-Margallo urged his successor to pursue the “opportunities” that Brexit offered Spain in its sovereignty aspirations over Gibraltar. In a farewell speech as he handed over to Alfonso Dastis Quecedo, Spain’s new Minister for Foreign Affairs, García-Margallo listed what he believed were his main achievements in office and included his strategy on the Rock.
Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has dropped José Manuel García-Margallo from his cabinet, replacing him as Foreign Minister with a career diplomat from Jerez de la Frontera. Although there had been wide speculation that García-Margallo would not continue in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the appointment of 61-year old Alfonso María Dastis Quecedo took most pundits by surprise.
For the first time ever, an annual Latin American Summit has endorsed Spain’s position on Gibraltar. Spain’s Secretary of State for International Cooperation in Latin America confirmed that the 32 countries attending have supported Spain’s call to the United Kingdom to start bilateral sovereignty talks over the Rock.
Russia has withdrawn a request to refuel its warships in Ceuta, after Spain became the subject of international criticism, from the NATO secretary general among others. Spain had recently signed statements accusing Russia of war crimes in Syria, where it’s believed the ships are headed.
Spain’s acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy accepted a mandate from King Felipe to seek parliament’s backing to form a new government and end over ten months of political deadlock, which is expected to happen on Sunday. The Socialist party agreed a last Sunday to abstain in the vote, allowing Rajoy to lead a minority government of his conservative Partido Popular.
Gibraltar will be included in whatever deal the United Kingdom negotiates to leave the European Union, Britain’s ambassador to Spain has said. Simon Manley made the comment during a wide-ranging interview with the right-wing Spanish newspaper ABC, during which he also made clear “there is no turning back” from Brexit.
The fall in the pound has boosted trade in Gibraltar as neighbouring Spaniards flock to the Rock territory where their Euros buy them more, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo has said. Gibraltar’s stores and supermarkets are filled with Spanish people picking up their weekly shop.