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Senior UK officials in Gib ahead of treaty talks

The UK delegation pictured in The Convent during the visit this week. From left to right are Hugh Elliot, the UK Ambassador to Spain; Robbie Bulloch, the Director of EU-Gibraltar negotiations at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; Lyndsay Appleby, the UK Ambassador to the EU; the Governor, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel; and Commodore Steve Dainton, the Commander British Forces. Photo: The Convent via Twitter

The UK and Gibraltar governments held a series of meetings on the Rock this week as part of preparatory work ahead of negotiations for a UK/EU treaty on Gibraltar.

The EU has yet to formally adopt its negotiating mandate for the talks and is currently analysing and discussing draft guidelines published by the European Commission in July.

Both the UK and Gibraltar have stated that the Commission’s draft mandate goes beyond the framework agreement reached with Spain on New Year’s Eve and cannot form the basis for talks.

But pending the EU’s final position on the talks, Gibraltar and the UK continue to prepare both for negotiations that will prove both difficult and complex, and for the possibility of no agreement.

The meetings this week brought together Gibraltar’s negotiating team with senior UK officials who will play a key role in the talks.

The Gibraltar side remained unchanged and was made up of the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, alongside Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, Attorney General Michael Llamas and Financial Secretary Albert Mena.

On the UK side was Lyndsay Appleby, the UK Ambassador to the EU and a man who has been deeply involved in Brexit negotiations on Gibraltar since the 2016 referendum; Robbie Bulloch, the Director of EU-Gibraltar negotiations at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; and Hugh Elliot, the UK Ambassador to Spain.

No.6 Convent Place said the meetings were part of the “very extensive preparation” under way for the negotiation of the UK/EU treaty on Gibraltar ‘in keeping with the provisions of the New Year’s Eve Agreement between Spain, the UK and Gibraltar”.

It said further preparatory meetings would continue in the coming days and weeks.

“I have worked very well and very closely with Lindsay Appleby before and I look forward to continuing our close working relationship now that he is the UK Ambassador to the EU and as we prepare for this negotiation,” Mr Picardo said.

“Teams in Gibraltar and in London have been working since January in preparation for the coming negotiation and we remain positive that the New Year’s Eve Agreement is a framework for a UK/EU treaty in relation to Gibraltar that will deliver positive economic outcomes and shared prosperity for Gibraltar and the region.”

The UK delegation also met with the Governor, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel, and the Commander British Forces, Commodore Steve Dainton.

In a tweet, the Office of the Governor said the visiting delegation had been briefed on “withdrawal negotiations and defence issues”.

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