Govt confirms treaty meeting after Spanish website publishes image of delegation returning to Rock
The Gibraltar Government said on Saturday that its Brexit negotiating team had attended meetings in Cordoba on Friday.
Confirmation of the meeting came after a Spanish website published photo of the Gibraltar delegation on a train returning from the meeting.
The website, Noticias Gibraltar, said the meeting was “unknown”.
The photo showed Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, Attorney General Michael Llamas and Peter Canessa, Mr Picardo’s private secretary, wearing masks on a train from Madrid to Malaga.
It was taken by an unknown passenger who had been sitting opposite reading a book on the Battle of Trafalgar, according to Mr Picardo.
The passenger appears to have passed the image to the Spanish website.
No.6 Convent Place said the Government had repeatedly stated publicly that discussions on the negotiation would continue between formal rounds of talks.
In July, it said those discussions would be “ongoing and take place at different levels”.
On Saturday, it dismissed any suggestion that the meeting had been “secret or undisclosed”.
It said given such meetings were “innumerable”, the Gibraltar Government only made announcements when they were formal negotiating rounds or when they involved ministerial representation from other governments.
The government did not say who had attended the meetings in Cordoba on Friday. The Spanish Government and UK Government have not made any public statement on the meeting either.
“We have stated repeatedly that we are constantly meeting with colleagues from the UK, the EU and Spain as we continue to try to finalise negotiations for a safe and secure treaty between the UK and the EU which settles our future relationship with the EU and which has no implications for sovereignty,” Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said.
“I am very proud to be leading the Gibraltar negotiations, alongside Joseph Garcia.”
“The work is constant and unrelenting and occurs daily by telephone, email, WhatsApp, video conferences and in person meetings.”
“It has not abated through the summer months as we try to finalise matters as soon as possible.”
“Work on the proposed treaty therefore continues, with more formal rounds to be announced shortly starting in September, and as soon as we are able to announce areas of progress or agreement, we will do so.”
“It has continued today, Saturday and will continue tomorrow, Sunday.”
“Yesterday we met in Cordoba with officials to review progress and the work that remains to be done.”
“We were surreptitiously photographed by a fellow passenger on the train, who was ironically reading a book about the battle of Trafalgar and was clearly not friend of Gibraltar who has passed a copy of the photograph to a Spanish website.”