Tuesday, June 14, 2005

New book puts Spain's Foreign policy under spotlight

An experienced Spanish diplomat concluded last week that “no country” would allow Spain to dominate both sides of the strategic Strait of Gibraltar.

He made the statement while speaking about Spain’s north African enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, and their relation to Madrid’s sovereignty claim over Gibraltar.

Professor Ángel Ballesteros, who has been a diplomat for over 30 years and is recognised as a leading expert on Spanish foreign policy, was speaking at a book presentation in Ceuta.

He said Gibraltar was one of the three “big themes” in Spanish foreign policy – alongside Ceuta and Melilla, and the Western Sahara – and that all three were intimately linked.

He highlighted how Morocco has always insisted that if Spain recovers Gibraltar, it would follow suit by reclaiming Ceuta and Melilla. But the two issues were different, he said.

“This is about a clash between two great internationalist principles: the right to self-determination, denied to Gibraltar by the United Nations, and territorial integrity,” he said in an interview with the Spanish press.

“In the case of Ceuta [and Melilla], the second principle prevails…”

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