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Gibraltar ‘not a central issue’ in Brexit talks, Dastis says

Gibraltar must not become “a determinant or even important” issue in the Brexit negotiations, Spain’s Foreign Minister Alfonse Dastis said yesterday, as he rejected criticism of his government’s “Francoist policies” toward the Rock.
Sr Dastis was reacting to comments made by Gibraltar’s Minister for Economic Development, Joe Bossano, during an address to a UN decolonisation seminar.
Mr Bossano told delegates at the meeting that Spain’s territorial aspirations over the Rock would in effect perpetuate colonial rule and had not changed since they were introduced under the Franco regime.
But Sr Dastis rejected this and said Spain’s strategy toward Gibraltar had two strands.
“Firstly, we try and ensure that the bonds that have been created over time between Gibraltar the Campo de Gibraltar are maintained, so that there is shared prosperity,” he said during a breakfast briefing organised by Europa Press in Madrid.
“And secondly, to resolve the conflict and fulfil our aspirations using the means at our disposal and in compliance with UN mandates through bilateral dialogue with the UK.”
“I don’t think we’re doing anything out of the ordinary and I don’t know what he means by Francoist policies.”
“There is nothing Francoist about this government.”
Sr Dastis also played down the prospect of Gibraltar becoming a central stumbling block to Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU.
“We have to relativize this,” he said.
“My aspiration is that Gibraltar is not a determinant issue in the negotiation.”
“It is a bilateral issue between the United Kingdom and Spain and our aspiration is that the negotiation between the UK and the EU is focused on obtaining the best result, the best relations, the best partnership for the future.”
“To what extent this is applied to Gibraltar, that is something we want to discuss with the United Kingdom and find a satisfactory solution.”
“But I don’t want Gibraltar to be a principal or even important issue in the negotiation.”

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