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Spain highlights ‘firm and tenacious’ stance on Gibraltar

Spain’s “firm and tenacious” stance toward Gibraltar was flagged up in the 2015 annual report on Spanish foreign policy, published earlier this week by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Madrid.

The report runs to 116 pages and includes just a small section on Gibraltar, a “fundamental portfolio” in Spanish foreign policy.

“The ultimate aim of our foreign actions in respect of Gibraltar is the recovery of its sovereignty and, as such, Spain’s territorial integrity...” the document states, describing Gibraltar was “an anachronistic colony”.

The report highlights that one of the main focal points of Spanish policy toward Gibraltar is carried out in the United Nations, where the Spanish Government continues to push annually for bilateral sovereignty talks with the UK.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the report does not record Britain’s double-lock commitment to never enter into such talks or even contemplate them without the blessing of the people of Gibraltar, whose right to self-determination is undeniable.

Neither does it reflect Gibraltar’s position as set out annually before the UN Committee of 24 and its Fourth Committee.

Instead, the ministry’s report claimed Spain’s “firm and tenacious” action toward Gibraltar had “slightly improved” the position in various respects. Likewise the report said Spain had “…responded at all times to the unilateral actions of the Gibraltarian executive.”

But in both cases, it failed to provide specific details to substantiate the claims.

“The firm and decisive action toward the United Kingdom, a friend and ally, has always been open to dialogue and cooperation…” the report added, citing Spain’s “insistence” on ad hoc talks and efforts to strengthen cross-border law enforcement cooperation.

The report also said the Spanish Government had factored into its policies the socio-economic circumstances of neighbouring Spanish cities, “…putting into place wherever possible measures to mitigate the negative impact of the dispute on the population in the Campo de Gibraltar.”