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UK reiterates Gibraltar ‘double-lock’ commitment at UN

UK diplomat Mungo Woodifield at the UN. Pgoto via UK Government

The UK Government reiterated its double-lock commitment to the people of Gibraltar in a statement to the United Nations Fourth Committee in New York on Wednesday, signalling too its commitment to concluding a UK/EU treaty for Gibraltar “as soon as possible”.

Mungo Woodifield, the UK spokesperson to the UN, told the committee that the Chief Minister of Gibraltar would address them in person in the coming days. The intervention was delayed because of the general election today.

“We welcome their participation and restate that the UK’s longstanding commitment to the people of Gibraltar remains unchanged,” Mr Woodifield said.

“The UK will not enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their freely and democratically expressed wishes.”

“The United Kingdom also reaffirms that it will not enter into a process of sovereignty negotiations with which Gibraltar is not content.”

Mr Woodifield reminded the committee that after the UK’s departure from the European Union, the UK Government, together with the Government of Gibraltar and the Government of Spain, agreed to a political framework on how a future agreement between the UK and EU in respect of Gibraltar would function in the interests of all parties.

“These negotiations began in October 2021 and the UK, working side-by-side with the Government of Gibraltar, is committed to concluding a UK-EU treaty as soon as possible,” he added.

In his address, the UK diplomat told the UN that the UK was committed to the principle of self-determination in respect of all its overseas territories.

“The UK has a modern relationship with all of its overseas territories based on partnership, on shared values, and on the right of the people of each territory to choose to remain British or not,” he said.

“The UK Overseas Territories have a large measure of internal self-government, subject only to the UK retaining powers to carry out its obligations under international law.”

“We have a close bilateral relationship with each territory, but the UK and Overseas Territory Governments also hold a Joint Ministerial Council each year to monitor and drive forward collective priorities for action in the spirit of partnership.”

“We are committed to supporting the territories on their priorities including environmental protection and to carrying out our constitutional responsibilities, including ensuring security.”

“Across the territories, we provide financial and practical support to build local capacity and resilience and have projects underway to build new infrastructure, including a new hospital, ports and much more.”

Mr Woodifield also set out the UK’s position on the Falkland Islands, insisting that the islanders “do not want dialogue on sovereignty”.

“These wishes – expressed freely – should be respected,” he said.

“The people of the Falkland Islands are an established and diverse community, with families being able to trace their South Atlantic ancestry back ten generations, and over 60 different nationalities are represented across the population.”

“The Falkland Islanders remain resilient in the face of harassment from Argentina - they are looking to a future in which their young people can freely travel the globe to play sports without fear of backlash from Argentina; in which they can share their wealth of knowledge on environmental protections with international partners; and importantly, a future in which they can have a peaceful and cooperative relationship with their neighbours, free from hostility.”

“The UK continues to hope for a stronger, more productive relationship with Argentina, including in relation to the Falkland Islands.”

“We believe this is in everybody’s interest and stand ready to take that forward, but not at the expense of the Falkland Islanders right to determine their own future.”

“This means that there can be no dialogue on sovereignty unless the Falkland Islands so wish.”

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