Thursday, September 22, 2005

Mind your own business Bossano tells Moratinos

Reaction to UN speech

Joe Bossano - GSLP Head and Leader of the OppositionGibraltar’s decolonisation has nothing to do with Spain, Leader of the Opposition Joe Bossano declared yesterday following the Spanish Foreign Secretary’s remarks at the United Nations on Tuesday evening.

Mr Bossano said Sr Moratinos should “mind his own business since our decolonisation is a matter for London and Gibraltar alone.”

Mr Bossano argued that Spain is simply removing restrictions which should not have been there in the first place and asking for concessions in return.

“To call this cooperation is a misrepresentation,” he said.

A GSLP (Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party) spokesman continued:

“Miguel Angel Moratinos has confirmed to the UN that as far as Spain is concerned the Brussels process is not dead and has only been shelved.

He also called for a resumption of these bilateral negotiations as the means to decolonise Gibraltar.

On this occasion, something which has not happened very frequently in the past, the UK exercised its right to reply and simply limited itself to saying that any solution had to respect the wishes of the Gibraltarians.

In fact it is not Spain that has to respect our wishes but UK as the Administering Power. The wishes of the Gibraltarians as expressed through our Parliament, are for a new decolonising constitution agreed between Gibraltar and UK based on the proposals currently under negotiation.

The statement by Mr Moratinos to the UN is a simple reiteration of comments he made when the new talks process was launched last year.

The purpose of the process is not to have friendly, neighbourly cooperation with Gibraltar as a matter of course. On the contrary, the objective is to sweeten the pill so that Gibraltarians become more amenable with time to a resumption of the sovereignty negotiations.

The Opposition is convinced that this will never happen. The people of Gibraltar are well aware that all that Spain is doing at present is removing restrictions which should have never been there in the first place and asking for concessions from Gibraltar in return. To call this friendly, neighbourly cooperation is a complete misrepresentation.

It is wishful thinking on the part of Mr Moratinos to believe that Spain will participate in the decolonisation of Gibraltar. As far as the Opposition is concerned the process has already commenced and Spain is not a part of it. There is now a new constitution being discussed between Gibraltar and UK which would give us the maximum level possible of self-government short of independence.

The UK’s position is that the only decolonisation not open to Gibraltar is independence. They claim this is barred by the reversion clause of Article X of the Treaty of Utrecht. Nobody in Gibraltar has ever accepted this position. However, given that titular sovereignty after decolonisation would remain with HM the Queen as at present, the point is academic.

The UK Government should therefore make it clear to Mr Moratinos that our decolonisation has got nothing to do with him.

The new Spanish Government approach should not fool anyone. They are openly saying that they have an interest in the increased prosperity of the area, no doubt with some minor economic spin-off for Gibraltar, in the expectation that as a consequence the Gibraltarians would become more amenable to giving Madrid a say in our future. They must understand once and for all that this will never happen. Indeed, given the expectation that Gibraltar’s negotiations with UK will reach a satisfactory conclusion within twelve months this should be the last occasion that Mr Moratinos can refer to our colonial status to promote self-serving arguments for Spain at the UN.”

Related Article:

21 September 2005 - Moratinos raises Gibraltar issue at UN


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