Tuesday, May 31, 2005

UN Seminar drops Brussels reference - Bossano

The UN Seminar on decolonisation held at St Vincent and the Grenadines has been one of the most fruitful in recent years, Joe Bossano, Opposition Leader declared on his return last week.

Mr Bossano said it was well attended by government and other representatives of almost all the remaining British colonies as well as members of the Committee of 24and several member states. The UK did not participate although there was a representative from Spain.

Mr Bossano said that in the course of the debate in respect of other British territories, it clearly emerged that a number of British territories are now looking at a form of Free Association or the Fourth Option as an alternative to independence and a means of exercising self-determination and achieving decolonisation.

Mr Bossano said he had fully participated in the discussions on all the sessions, including those of other territories, and made a statement in relation to the way ahead on the general question of fulfilling the goals of the Second Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism and on the specific question of Gibraltar. He also says he refuted proposals put by Argentina on the Falkland Islands, since the Islanders were not represented.

“Probably the most valuable result from Gibraltar’s point of view was that the seminar this year, for the first time, dropped its backing for the continuation of the Brussels negotiations,” he said.

Last year recommendation 39 of the seminar held in Papua New Guinea stated:

“the participants reiterated that the Special Committee should continue to encourage the ongoing negotiations between the Governments of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Spain within the Brussels process aimed at achieving a solution to the question of Gibraltar in accordance with the relevant resolutions and decisions of the United Nations.”

This was the reiteration of the recommendation in support of Brussels made in 2003 at the Anguilla seminar and in seminars in earlier years. Joe Bossano in his statement asked the participants not to continue to lend their weight to the Brussels process which enjoyed no support in Gibraltar from any quarter any longer.

“This year the Gibraltar specific recommendation was omitted altogether from the draft recommendation agreed to after the report was presented to the seminar by the drafting committee and fully debated. There were a number of other clauses in which references were made to territories over which there was a sovereignty dispute, but Gibraltar was not specifically mentioned and although Joe Bossano argued against this distinction being made as regards the application of the right to self-determination, it did not prove possible to get this text amended or omitted,” he said.

Mr Bossano said that the attempt by the delegate from Argentina to introduce a new Falklands Island recommendation which went even further in denying self-determination to the islanders was defeated after he made a strong speech condemning the Argentinian position. Argentina had asked for a recommendation from the participants that the islanders could not have the right to self-determination because its decolonisation was a matter of territorial integrity and its people had been illegally transplanted there by the occupying power and could not be distinguished from it.

Describing the Argentinian, view as utter and complete rubbish worthy of the views of Castiella in relation to Gibraltar in the 1960s, Mr Bossano told the seminar that they were being asked to do no less than to produce a new interpretation of the UN Charter. He reminded participants that the seminar was being held to protect the people of the remaining colonies and not to further the territorial claims of Argentina or any other member of the UN.

“The seminar in its conclusions and recommendations noted the remarks made by Argentina but did not endorse them and simply repeated word for word the recommendations on negotiations between the UK and Argentina which had been made by the seminar held in previous years and which is virtually identical to the recommendations previously made on Gibraltar and which have not been repeated this year,” he said.

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