By James Bryce
PRIME Minister David Cameron has left Spain in no doubt as to Britain’s position on the issue of Gibraltar’s sovereignty.
It comes after Cameron met Spain leader Mariano Rajoy to discuss a range of issues including the Eurozone crisis and labour reforms.
But while the pair were at pains to stress their ‘excellent relations’, Cameron raised tensions by reaffirming his position on Gibraltar.
“On the issue of Gibraltar, we do have different positions,” Cameron admitted.
“There’s no change in the Government’s position. It is for the people of Gibraltar to determine their future and we wouldn’t engage in any discussion about Gibraltar that the Gibraltarians did not want us to engage in. That is important to understand.
“But I don’t believe that should get in the way of a strong bilateral relationship between Britain and Spain,” he added.
Gibraltar’s government welcomed Cameron’s stance on an issue which has featured prominently on the Spanish agenda in recent months.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said: “David Cameron gets it, knows what the issues are and he does Gibraltar proud.”
Despite the stance, Spain’s Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo has called for the sovereignty issue to be discussed by the UN General Assembly.
He wrote a strongly worded letter to foreign secretary William Hague the day after the meeting insisting that the former Tripartite Forum should go back to 1984 discussions when Gibraltar did not have the right to a veto.
He wants the UK and Spain to make the key decisions with both the Campo de Gibraltar area and Gibraltar itself having some say. A ‘Two flags, four voices’ discussion, as he put it.