CHIEF Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo has met with UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to discuss the ongoing issues at the border with Spain as well as treaty negotiations.
Also present at the meeting were Gibraltar’s Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia and UK Europe Minister James Cleverly.
The meeting was held at the end of a two-day session of talks for a UK-EU treaty on the Rock’s relationship with the EU, which Picardo says he remains very optimistic can be achieved.
The UK government agreed to hold a formal meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council, a committee which looks at issues relating to relationships with devolved administrations, on the Gibraltar border issue in the coming weeks.
Picardo said in an interview with GBC News that there is a “keen interest” in the border issue from Truss and Cleverly. This is despite the fact that only around a fortnight ago Cleverly appeared unaware of any issues at a hearing of the European Scrutiny Committee.
Liz Truss wrote online after the meeting that the UK is “steadfast” in its approach to its overseas territory and will “always protect the sovereignty of Gibraltar”. The Foreign Secretary added that “we’re working together to ensure free flow of people and goods into Gibraltar.”
Despite it always having been insisted that they are very different issues, there is now concern that if relations between the UK and EU break down over the Northern Ireland protocol, this could have a knock-on effect on progress on the Gibraltar treaty.
Picardo told GBC News that the negotiators have always dealt with outside international politics during the treaty talks and so with rising tensions surrounding Northern Ireland must continue to insist Gibraltar is a separate issue.
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