Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Spanish reaction to decolonisation

Foriegn Secretary Jack Straw, was not able to give a categorical assurance that the UK’s position in the current negotiations on a new Constitution to decolonise Gibraltar, “would not be influenced by how Spain may react,” Leader of the Opposition Joe Bossano has said on his return from attending the Labour Party Conference in Brighton last week.

A GSLP (Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party) spokesman said:

“Mr Straw was responding to a question by Joe Bossano during the Question and Answer Session at the conference.

Mr Bossano reminded Jack Straw of the historical position taken by the Labour Party in support of decolonisation and said that he took it for granted that the party would support Gibraltar’s desire to be decolonised. In the light of this, Joe Bossano asked the Foreign Secretary to confirm that the UK’s position in the negotiations to arrive at a decolonising constitution would not be influenced by concerns about the possible reaction of the Spanish Government.”

Jack Straw, who described Joe Bossano as an old friend, told a packed hall that if the answer to the Gibraltar problem was as simple as the question implied, the issue would have been resolved decades ago.

Mr Straw went on to explain the Treaty of Utrecht and the reversion clause which says that if UK give up the sovereignty of Gibraltar, Spain has first refusal. Mr Straw said:

“Spain have made it clear that they are going to exercise that option and that is why we have difficulty about the precise status in the interim – in the interim or at all - for Gibraltar.

What is also the case is that your House of Assembly has put forward constructive proposals for constitutional improvements currently under discussion and I hope that we can have a satisfactory outcome within our responsibility for Gibraltar and our treaty obligations. Thank you very much, good luck.”

“The GSLP considers that the point made by Jack Straw is totally irrelevant to the negotiations for decolonising Gibraltar.

As everyone knows, the proposals for a new constitution approved by the House of Assembly, which is a public document, do not involve a transfer of sovereignty from the British Crown.

The GSLP is also very clear that we are not involved in merely discussing improvements to the current Constitution so that we finish up with an “improved” but still colonial status.

As a result of the interest generated by Joe Bossano’s question, a number of other delegations approached the GSLP delegation wanting to know more about Gibraltar’s constitutional aspirations.”


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