THE Gibraltar chief minister has told Spain to get its priorities straight and drop the sovereignty claim for the Rock.

Speaking on Spanish ABC Punto Radio the recently elected Fabian Picardo, 39, highlighted Spain’s unemployment problem insisting it was more important that ‘quixotic’ claims to Gibraltar.

“In the 21st century we should not be making claims over each other’s houses,” he said.

“With five and a bit million unemployed, I have the impression that the Spaniards have other priorities.”

He also added that Gibraltar would never give permission for the United Kingdom to reopen talks on the sovereignty of the Rock.

And he called on the Foreign Minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, to treat Gibraltar with ‘friendship as a neighbouring people’.

“We should seek ways of working together to promote economic activity in the area in a way that is positive for people on both sides of the frontier,” he said.

The new leader also insisted that he had the support of David Cameron, and recalled that up to 6,000 Spaniards work in Gibraltar, while only a handful of Gibraltarians work in Spain.

His comments come after the Spanish PP government announced it wanted to renew talks about sovereignty with London, and replace the three-way dialogue with a new quadripartite forum which would include delegates from Andalucia.

Meanwhile the British Secretary of State for Europe, David Lidington, who is currently in Madrid for talks with his Spanish counterpart, Iñigo Mendez de Vigo, has announced Britain would only enter into sovereignty negotiations with Spain if Gibraltar was happy for it to do so.

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