Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sovereignty status quo will be unaltered by Ariport deal

Rafael Estrella, the PSOE parliamentary spokesman for Foreign Affairs, has declared that the tripartite forum will be in a position to announce an agreement on the airport, the Spanish pensions issue and improved frontier flow in a period of “two to three months.”

Speaking in Algeciras this week Sr Estrella said that the negotiation on the airport is unconnected to the Spanish sovereignty claim, while the presence of Spanish police at the airport had been discarded.

Sr Estrella said he was moderately optimistic on an airport agreement and said there were technical matters still pending conclusion. The forum based its initial work on the Basle airport in Switzerland which has frontier exits to France.

“We are discussing technical problems that will not alter the status quo on the airport’s sovereignty,” he declared.

Sr Estrella indicated that the negotiation was advancing toward “a joint use airport that included joint commercial management of the airport.”

There will be no sovereignty advantage for Spain with this agreement since this is outside the script, said Sr Estrella.

The Spanish politician said that the Madrid Government will also study the pensions proposal that emanates from the forum, but that the pensioners will have the final say on any eventual agreement and there would be no reduction in the sums of money they are claiming.

“We are dealing with the historical rights of the pensioners and the only discussion refers to the various formulae that can be applied for the payment.

Sr Estrella also admitted that to date, “the British Government has not formally accepted” to pay the pensions but said the negotiating process was “on the right track.”

As regards frontier flow the Granada MP said the negotiations aimed to establish more rational and objective mechanisms to “improve the quality of life” of the citizens on both sides of the border.


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