The Chief Minister considers ‘unacceptable’ recent comments by the UK ambassador to Morocco about not wanting to ‘offend’ Spain.
It followed a radio interview with Thomas Reilly who said ‘the Spanish claim against the territory of Gibraltar’ could be a stumbling block for trade with the North African country.
“If we try to forge links between Gibraltar and Morocco, Moroccans will have problems with the Spaniards,” said Reilly.
“I didn’t really want to touch this issue, since I personally didn’t want to offend or cause a bilateral problem between Morocco and Spain.”
“It’s very important not to upset relations that are so important like the ones Morocco has with Spain.”
The Gibraltar Government seemed to put the ambassador in his place, defining the role of an ambassador between two countries.
“The Government considers that the role of an Ambassador is to develop positive relations between the country that he or she represents and the host nation.
“It is not to indirectly discourage trade and economic relations between them based on the possible reaction of third parties.”
In the end, Reilly did manage to open up about the the possibility of Morocco selling electricity to the Rock and co-operation.
“I had a conversation with MASEN (Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy) and ONE (Office National de l’Electricite) on the issue of electricity exports to Gibraltar,” revealed the UK ambassador.
“There is really a rapprochement already in place between Morocco and Gibraltar in all aspects of the fight against drug trafficking, illegal immigration and smuggling between the European continent and the African continent.”
He also mentioned the continuing relationship between the Gibraltar Regiment and the Moroccan soldiers that took part in an exercise two weeks ago.
“Although the Ambassador then went on to say the right thing, the substance and tone of some of his comments as well as the nature of his approach are unacceptable,” said the Gibraltar Government.
With Brexit likely to be decided soon and new trade deals coming to the table, the matter has been taken up with officials in London.