26 May, 2023 @ 09:22
1 min read

Gibraltar ex-chief minister slams Spain for using ‘anachronistic’ Utrecht Treaty to deny self-determination

Joe Bossano Gib Un

“THE Rock of Gibraltar is ours and no one else’s,” Gibraltar’s minister for economic development Sir Joe Bossano told the United Nations Pacific Seminar in Bali.

The former Chief Minister and GSLP party co-founder was in a defiant mood, slamming Spain’s approach to the United Nations decolonisation process.

He compared Gibraltar’s identity to other colonies established from slavery and derided the Treaty of Utrecht as ‘anachronistic’.

Bossano, brought up in Francoist Spain behind a closed frontier, also called the Spanish claim ‘flimsy’.

“The position of Spain, which it claims is also the doctrine of the UN and C24 is that Gibraltar can only be Spanish or British,” he told delegates.

“There is no other option.

“If it is British then we are a colony, if it becomes Spanish we are being decolonized, even if the level of self-government we enjoyed were to be reduced.”

The father of Gibraltar’s parliament compared the Rock’s inhabitants to those of Chagos Island.

Spain, he said supported their self-determination because they were ‘the native inhabitants’.

But the government minister said they were in fact descendant of ‘slaves imported by France’ and later ‘contract workers brought in by British traders’.

Treaty blues

He argued that the 1713 Utrecht treaty ‘reflected the values of the time’ but now ‘deprives our people of their inalienable right to self-determination’ over 300 years later.

Bossano said that ‘Spain’s position is in fundamental conflict’ with chapter 11 of the UN Charter on decolonisation.

He said that Gibraltar would only accept an EU treaty that sees Frontex control its air and sea port controls.

Spain’s insistence that it would take over controls after that point mean ‘the treaty would be terminated’, he added.

“We will never give up any of it, not one millimeter, not one grain of sand from our beaches, or our isthmus, he concluded.

“And if this means we are never delisted, so be it.

“We can continue advancing our level of self-government by negotiation with UK and stay on the UN list for ever, if that is what the UN wants.”

Spanish dictator Franco first asked the UN to put Gibraltar on the list of territories to be decolonised over half a century ago.

Successive UN general assemblies and Committees of 24 have tried unsuccessfully to grant him and modern Spain’s wish.


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