The United Kingdom and Spain intend to reach a global agreement before the summer of 2002 on Gibraltar, occupied by the UK for 300 years.
The “global agreement” is to cover “all the important themes, including cooperation and sovereignty”, according to a joint statement by the two delegations.
The delegations were led by the British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Josep Pique. They met early on Tuesday in the Government Delegation in Catalonia to continue with bilateral contacts within the auspices of the “Process of Brussels”(November 1984), by which both sides agreed to hold regular consultations to solve the issue of Gibraltar.
Spain contests the presence of the United Kingdom in this strategic enclave near Algeciras, on the Straits of Gibraltar, facing Morocco. Britain seized the territory at the beginning of the eighteenth century, during the war against Louis XIV of France, whose grandson was king of Spain.
The Gibraltarians do not want any form of union with Spain. They are divided among those who wish to remain a British colony and those who favour full independence.
John ASHTEAD PRAVDA.Ru