Saturday, February 05, 2005

Nuclear Submarine visit a matter for UK and Gibraltar

• Spain no right to protest, says Bossano

HMS Sceptre's visit to Gibraltar is entirely a matter for the British Government and the people of Gibraltar, Leader of the Opposition Joe Bossano said last night.

In a statement to the Chronicle Mr Bossano said that there is “no reason why Spain should have been informed of this visit here or have the right to protest.” According to a GSLP/Libs spokesman this position has been made very clear by Mr Bossano in several Spanish media interviews.

A GSLP/Libs spokesman said:

The Opposition notes that Spain has protested to UK over the presence in Gibraltar of the Royal Navy nuclear submarine HMS Sceptre. This has been followed by an orchestrated chorus of protest from the Spanish Government, Opposition, environmentalists, Junta de Andalucia and Campo Mancomunidad.

The central Government in Madrid, and all the other levels of political institutions in Andalucia need to understand once and for all that Gibraltar is a distinct and separate country, and simply because they happen to be our closest neighbour on the Iberian Peninsula, and that we were once part of the same country over 300 years ago, it does not mean that they have any right whatsoever to seek to interfere in things that happen in Gibraltar. Some sectors of the media are suggesting that the visit by HMS Sceptre may somehow mar the alleged new climate of “entente cordial” between Gibraltar and Spain. Any kind of dialogue between our country and Spain has to be on the basis of mutual respect for each others frontiers and the jurisdiction over our territorial waters. It may be opportune to remind the Spanish Director General for Europe Mr Pons of this at the tripartite meeting due to take place in Malaga between our country, the UK and Spain next week.


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