Tuesday, July 12, 2005

GSLP welcome “support” from Prince Albert

Monaco - Spain - Gibraltar Olympic rift

Prince Albert of Monaco a member of the International Olympic Committee
GSLP/Liberals has reacted to the remarks made by Prince Albert of Monaco whose comments regarding Gibraltar’s proposed membership of the International Olympic Committee have sparked off a diplomatic row with Spain.

Meanwhile the Opposition has also condemned the Spanish Government, for what the Opposition say is their “continuing to mix politics and sports in this manner.”

A GSLP/Liberal spokesman said:

“The Opposition welcome the support from Prince Albert of Monaco for Gibraltar’s bid for membership of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

This has caused a political stir in Spain and the Monaco Ambassador was summoned to the Spanish Foreign Ministry (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores MAE) as a result of the comments made by the Prince.

The fact that somebody of the stature of Prince Albert has spoken out on this issue has given the matter considerable prominence and media attention which it did not have before.

As is well known, Gibraltar has tried to seek representation in the Olympic movement for many years. It will be recalled that the qualification some time back was that seven of our sporting associations had to be affiliated to their corresponding international associations. Whenever Gibraltar met a target, the rules were changed in such a way so that we were no longer eligible.

The IOC finally changed their rules to allow as new applicants only sovereign states recognized by the United Nations.

However, since Gibraltar applied for membership before the rule change, the Opposition understand that this point is being tested at the international tribunal for sport in Lausanne.

The Opposition condemn the Spanish Government for continuing to mix politics and sports in this manner.

The message to Madrid must be that Gibraltar will not be intimidated and that no effort will be spared to ensure our participation in the Olympic games in Beijing in 2008 or London 2012.

Gibraltar should be encouraged by the support received from Monaco, and we should take advantage of the publicity given to our case to push it forward.”


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