Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Local co-operation agreements announce by ‘Comision Mixta'

Mancomunidad-Gib Govt meeting - Study into local cancer gets go-ahead

F Oliva reports from Algeciras

A joint epidemiological study, closer cross-border cooperation to deal with emergencies in the Bay and the promotion of Gibraltar and the Campo area as a combined tourist product were announced yesterday following the second meeting of the Mancomunidad-Gibraltar Government 'comision mixta' held in Algeciras.

At a press conference in the Mancomunidad headquarters, President Juan Montedeoca said both sides were putting into effect existing political goodwill to reach these agreements.

For his part Chief Minister Peter Caruana explained that there was concern among the population on both sides of the border, about an alleged high incidence of cancer cases in the area. This concern would now be pursued by public health authorities in Gibraltar, the Campo and the Junta de Andalucia who will be sharing their statistical databases in order to either confirm whether these fears are justified or not. The Chief Minister said that if it emerged that the area was at greater risk than other similarly industrialised zones in Europe, a joint epidemiological study would be commissioned to a prestigious international organisation to carry it out. If not, he added, "nos quedaremos mas tranquilos" ("we will all be somewhat relieved").

The other cooperation agreement relates to a joint response in case of emergencies with the setting up of a protocol for the coordination of cross-border resources, that will include police, fire brigade and ambulance, required to deal with such contingencies. A technical working group will be set up to look into the matter, "for the benefit of the area," said Mr Caruana. The third point of agreement relates to the promotion of Gibraltar and the Campo area as a combined tourist product.

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