Saturday, October 01, 2005

Tripartite Forum and Reform Process could clash, says Gibraltar expert

Gibraltar can interpret the current Tripartite Forum process as an enhancement of its own standing and a recognition by Spain of Gibraltar as an entity that is separate from Britain.

That is the view of Peter Gold a senior academic and author of Gibraltar: British or Spanish?, which was published by Routledge earlier this year.

Noting that the scenario in Gibraltarian-Spanish relations has markedly changed since he submitted his book in March 2004 he says it has become evident that the view expounded by their Foreign Affairs spokesman, Rafael Estrella, since 1999 – to put the sovereignty issue to one side and improve relations between Spain and Gibraltar – has now become Spanish Government policy.

In an opinion piece in today’s Chronicle Dr Gold says he is convinced Tripartite Forum would not have been acceptable to Spain in 1984. But he also says that the main disadvantage for Gibraltar of the establishment of the Forum process is that “it has in all probability postponed indefinitely any serious or radical consideration of the constitutional modernisation proposals agreed by the House of Assembly in February 2002 and first discussed with London in May 2004.”

He notes that the three participants in the Forum interpret it in a different way but notes Gibraltar’s confidence.

“With each party having its own voice, participating on an equal footing, and with any decisions or agreements having to be agreed by all three, the Chief Minister felt justified in describing the Forum as ‘safe’ when he addressed the UN Committee of 24 in June this year."

Related Articles and Links:

29 September 2005 - Date for Tripartite Talks confirmed

29 September 2005 - Constitutional Talks delegations issue Joint Statement after 'wide measure of agreement'

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