13th June 2022, 17:10
Published by GBC News
The Chief Minister has told the United Nations Committee of 24 that Gibraltar is willing to work with its neighbours to reach diplomatic and economic solutions, as it did with the Tax Treaty.
He has vowed to continue to narrow the differential between tobacco prices if there is an agreement on a treaty for Gibraltar's future relationship with the EU.
However he said Gibraltarians would never accept that they were mere bystanders in their own decolonisation. He said it was the Committee's role protect the Gibraltarians, and not seek solutions over their heads.
Fabian Picardo who was accompanied by the Deputy Chief Minister, began his speech by reminding the Committee that, despite repeated requests, it has not agreed to send a delegation to Gibraltar, and for thirty years it has not removed it from the list of non-self governing territories.
He said Gibraltarians are the most committed, the most indefatigable and the most unbeatable of the agents in play, and would not be going away until they were delisted.
However, he said the Gibraltarians were a mature people, aware of their rights, and aware of the need to work with their neighbours to the North and to the South in a spirit of diplomatic and economic cooperation.
Mr Picardo said previous differences between Gibraltar, the UK and Spain, which had been brought before the UN, had now been resolved in the first Tax Treaty since 1713.
And he committed Gibraltar to continue narrowing the differential between tobacco prices if an agreement is reached on a treaty for Gibraltar's future relationship with the EU.
The Chief Minister said there were reasons to be optimistic about solutions coming down the track, however he said Gibraltarians would never accept that they were mere bystanders in their own decolonisation.
He said that notion, sowed by Spain, was based on a false premise, and Gibraltar would never accept that the international legal status of its land should be the subject of dialogue between the administering power and a third party. He said the Committee only had power to protect the rights of the people of the non-self-governing territory, and accepting or promoting a solution which transfers land over the people's heads would be breaching international law.
In a relatively short address, the Spanish representative to the UN, Agustín Santos Maraver, reiterated Spain's view that the matter of Gibraltar should be resolved according to the principle of territorial integrity. He said the UN General Assembly had repeatedly called for the UK and Spain to resolve Gibraltar's situation bilaterally, and he urged the UK to return to the negotiating table in accordance with that UN request.
Speaking on behalf of the Self Determination for Gibraltar Group, Chairman Richard Buttigieg said Gibraltarians were clear that they may need to make some difficult choices in the near future, choices that perhaps they would have preferred not to have been forced to make. However he said those choices would be made freely, not with compulsion, intimidation, or pressure of any kind.
He said Gibraltar wants good neighbourly relationships with Spain, and has never wished for anything else.
He said during the Covid crisis, when Gibraltar's economy was being ravaged like everyone else’s, it provided free vaccines to all legally registered Spanish cross frontier workers and paid full salaries to all of them on furlough.