Thursday, February 03, 2005

Caruana, Pons and Chilcott to meet in Malaga

Tripartite talks on Feb 11th - ‘Spain has not ceded veto’ – Moratinos

Tripartite talks at senior level under the new process agreed between Gibraltar, Spain and Britain are expected to take place later this month in Malaga, possibly next week.

Miguel Angel Moratinos, Spanish Foreign minister, has urged the Partido Popular (PP) Opposition to join in a consensus on foreign policy, especially Gibraltar.

Sr Moratinos said yesterday that the positions on Gibraltar as between the PP and PSOE were not “so far apart” and added that there had never been an “internal rupture” on this issue. He insisted that Spain has not conceded a right of veto to Gibraltarians and pointed to the fact that PP Foreign Minister Josep Pique had himself said that the inability to make advances on negotiations was down to the non-participation by Gibraltarians.

On a visit to Algeciras Jose Maria Pons the Director for Europe at the Spanish Foreign Ministry has indicated that the airport is likely to be an item high on the agenda. Sr Pons is expected to represent Spain at these talks meeting with Peter Caruana, Chief Minister, and Dominick Chilcott, a senior F&CO diplomat – the same make up as the meeting at Chevening, England last December.

Sr Pons reassured Campo leaders that they are very much at the forefront of the process even though they will not be present at this encounter. The three sides are seeking ways of finding agreement on the use of the airport that avoids the pitfalls of the 1987 Airport Agreement and still allows each side to avoid compromise on fundamental positions. Last month officials from the three governments met in London to discuss the Spanish pensions issue.

Date Confirmed

Last night a Gibraltar Government spokesman confirmed Mr Caruana’s attendance and declared that the date for the meting will be February 11th.

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