Following comments from Gibraltar Cheif Minister Fabian Picardo and British Secretary of State for Europe, David Lidington, regarding the sovereignty of Gibraltar, Spain’s foreign minister has angrily responded.
Speaking yesterday, Jose Garcia Margallo said that Britains stance on the sovereignty of Gibraltar was in breach of the 1984 Brussels Agreement and the Treaty of Utrecht.
British and Gibraltarian officials have said they will not discuss the sovereignty of the island without the agreement of it’s people.
Mr Lidington was with Spanish Secretary of State Iñigo Mendez de Vigo when the subject of Gibraltar was raised. His initial response was “what a surprise” that he was being asked about Gibraltar.
He then made the following statement:
“The British Government has a very clear position. Our position on sovereignty is well known as is the Spanish Government’s position. We will not agree to a change in the status of Gibraltar, unless that is with the freely expressed agreement of the people of Gibraltar and we will not take part in any process of sovereignty negotiations unless that is done with the agreement of Gibraltar. That’s the position that the Coalition Government has taken since the first day that it took office. It has not changed. There is a new government in Spain. When I talk to Spanish colleagues I will obviously listen carefully to any ideas or suggestions they want to make, but the position of the British Government is as I have described it.”
Although Mr Lidington was only scheduled to meet with Sr de Vigo at the Foreign Ministry Gonzalo de Benito, Sr Margallo told journalists that he intended to speak with him personally to discuss the subject.
Spain’s ABC Punto Radio summarised Mr Lidington’s statement as “closing the door on sovereignty negotiations with Spain.”