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Gibraltar to decide its own future, Britain tells Spain

Wednesday February 22, 2012 11:49:49 AM, EFE

London: Britain will not negotiate with Spain on the question of sovereignty over Gibraltar without the approval of the colony's residents, Premier David Cameron said here Tuesday during a visit by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.The British leader spoke at a joint press conference with Rajoy after the two men met for the first time since the Spaniard took office in December.

"We have spoken about Gibraltar and the foreign ministers will continue talking in the future. We have different positions, but we will keep talking," Rajoy said.

Cameron, however, was more categorical, stressing that Britain's position in favour of self-determination for Gibraltarians "has not changed".

"It's important to understand" that London will not enter into talks on Gibraltar without consulting the wishes of the Rock's residents, the British prime minister said, before describing the current ties between Spain and Britain as excellent.

Gibraltar is a territory of 5.5 sq km on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. It has been held by Britain since 1704 and became a British Crown Colony in 1713 in accord with the Treaty of Utrecht.

The Rock currently has some 30,000 residents, who overwhelmingly rejected a 2002 proposal for Britain to share sovereignty over the territory with Spain.

Rajoy's conservative Popular Party government signaled last month that it would seek to revive talks with London on Gibraltar.

The last round of Gibraltar discussions ended in 2002 as Madrid and London were on the verge of agreeing to share sovereignty over the Rock.

The Socialist administration that took office in Madrid in 2004 decided to put the sovereignty dispute to one side in favour of cooperative efforts to benefit people living on both sides of the Spain-Gibraltar border.









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