British bias shows in colonial tussle
I read with interest the article in PostMagazine, by Stephen Moss, of The Guardian ("Rock in a hard place", September 1).
Regrettably it showed a bias towards the British points of view on the Gibraltar issue, completely ignoring the Spanish outlook.
The position of the Spanish government was reflected in an article by José Manuel García Margallo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation of Spain, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal on August 19 ("We need to talk about Gibraltar").
He said, firstly, Gibraltar is the only colonial remnant within the European Union. In accordance with the Resolutions 2353 and 2429 of the UN General Assembly, the UK must put an end to a colonial situation that runs counter to the UN Charter's principles and purposes, and restore Spain's territorial integrity.
Secondly, the UN has stressed that the controversies on sovereignty over Gibraltar must be solved through bilateral talks between the Spanish and the British governments. In this sense, the Spanish government has urged its British counterpart to resume the stalled negotiations without preconditions.
Thirdly, besides its anachronistic colonial status, the tensions on Gibraltar have deteriorated because of the measures taken by the British government and the Gibraltarian local authorities in breach of their obligations, such as the dumping of concrete blocks into Spanish territorial waters - against any basic environmental consideration; the lack of co-operation in fighting transborder smuggling, and the establishment of a fiscal regime that encourages the worst modalities of opacity and tax evasion.
Fourthly, Spain is ready to resume the dialogue with the British government on the issue of sovereignty, and it is open to enhance a dialogue that includes both the Gibraltar local authorities and the Andalusian regional government on matters relating to the welfare and needs of the populations across the fence.
To sum up, Spain and the UK are friends and partners in the EU. Unfortunately, the British attitudes towards Gibraltar are not consistent with this spirit of friendship. Spain is ready for dialogue, and considers that it should resume at the earliest.
Juan Manuel López-Nadal, consul-general of Spain in Hong Kong