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Spain’s UN ambassador highlights UK’s military presence in Gib in speech to C24

Agustín Santos Maraver, the Spanish Ambassador to the United Nations, addressing the Committee of the 2.

The UK’s military interests in Gibraltar “in part” explain its defence of the Gibraltarians, Spain’s ambassador to the UN said on Monday, adding that on occasion in the past, London has prioritised its own interests “when convenient”.

Agustín Santos Maraver was addressing the annual session on Gibraltar at the UN’s Committee of 24 in New York.

The ambassador said Spain was “a victim of a colonial situation” and that UN resolutions called for the restoration of its territorial integrity, an argument repeated by Spain at every such session.

But in New York on Monday, Mr Santos focused part of his address on military issues, something that is unusual.

He said UN resolution required “…the withdrawal of military bases and installations located in non-self-governing territories, because it is the military use, in part, unfortunately, that explains the importance that the administering power has actually given to the defence of the interests of the inhabitants of Gibraltar, and in some cases, as its history testifies, tragically, because it has prioritised the interests of the United Kingdom when it deemed it convenient.”

“These same interests were affected by the British decision to leave the European Union and drag the territory of Gibraltar into a very complex legal situation, which is now being attempted to be resolved by the European Union and Spain on one side, and the United Kingdom on the other, without causing harm to the inhabitants of Gibraltar or those in the neighbouring Spanish area affected by this colonial situation, which generates serious imbalances and inequities.”

“However, this negotiation does not imply that the United Kingdom and Spain are fulfilling the calls of the [UN] regional seminars and these committees.”

Mr Santos said none of the practical solutions under discussion to mitigate the impact of Brexit on Gibraltar and the Campo would “alleviate the effects of the colonial situation”

He said that for Spain, the only solution lay with the full restoration of Spain’s territorial integrity in line with UN resolutions.

“Unfortunately, the administering power has not fulfilled any of these mandates,” he said.

“Therefore, and as we have done before this committee in the past, we reiterate our call to the United Kingdom to address decolonisation while respecting the principle of territorial integrity.”

“The decolonisation process must be governed by the United Nations and will not conclude until the General Assembly so decides, and it entails obligations for the administering power that it is not fulfilling.”

Mr Santos was speaking in New York just hours after Spanish media reported that he would stand for the leftwing party Sumar as its second candidate in Spain’s forthcoming general election.

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