Friday, September 09, 2005

‘No preferential access to Airport for Spain', says Bossano

National Day message

Joe Bossano, Opposition Leader, in a statement issued ahead of National Day, has said that Spain should not have any privileged access to Gibraltar airport but either take it as it is or leave it.

“If we stand our ground we will win in the end,” he says.

Mr Bossano declared that National Day was created in 1992 under the GSLP Government for one reason – “to proclaim to the world our identity as a people, and to assert and defend the territorial integrity of our country”.

“This territorial integrity includes our isthmus, our air space and our territorial waters, as well as our Rock.”

Recalling last year’s message when he said that there was no room for complacency or for letting our guard down Mr Bossano said yesterday that “the fact that UK and Spain have agreed to temporarily shelve the Brussels Negotiations does not mean that Spain’s policy over Gibraltar has changed.”

This, he said, was made crystal clear by the message addressed to all Gibraltar last month in an article published in the Chronicle and written by Jose Pons, the Spanish Official “who is seeking for Spain the joint use of our airport”.

Mr Bossano responds to that saying that after “accusing those of us who oppose the ‘Joint Use’ of the airport of having ‘Stupid Prejudices’ he went on to say, ‘The Spanish Government cannot be asked to help Gibraltar’s economic development with an agreement over the airport and at the same time be denied the presence of Spanish persons to participate in the day to day running of the airport’. This is what Spain means by ‘Joint Use’.”

In his message Mr Bossano states:

“A week ago we learned from sources in Spain that the deal was 95% agreed and that the pending issue was the presence of Spanish police in our terminal.

As far back as 1983 I opposed the joint use of the airport with Spain. In 1987 we saw an agreement, blocked by the GSLP Government in 1988, which was designed to convert our airport into a joint Anglo/Spanish airport, even though it was supposedly sovereignty neutral.

Let us be clear about the issues. Spain vetoed in 1986 the application of EU Law to our airport, so that they could continue with the ban on flights from Spain. Spain’s demand has been that flights to Gibraltar from Spain have to be deemed to be within the borders of Spain, that is as if our airport was in La Linea. This was the reason for a La Linea terminal in 1987 and is the reason why they are demanding a Spanish presence in our terminal, now."

Mr Bossano said that the Opposition has always opposed making concessions to Spain to get them to remove restrictions which should not be there in the first place.

“They are welcome to commence flights to our Country but they are not entitled to any preferential treatment nor any involvement in the use or running of our airport.

Flights from other parts of Spain will benefit the economy of the Campo as much as, if not more than, ours. They will gain improved communications at zero cost.

If anything, we should be putting conditions to them for letting them make use of what is ours and not the other way round. They can take it or they can leave it.

On this as on so many other issues, if we stand our ground we will win in the end.”

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