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5th April 2016, 20:54

Spain and Argentina issue joint call for UK to engage in bilateral talks

The Foreign Ministers of Spain and Argentina have issued a joint call for the United Kingdom to engage in bilateral talks to end the colonial situations of Gibraltar and the Falklands. This follows a meeting in Buenos Aires between Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo and Susana Malcorra.

In a joint statement this evening, the Governments of Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands have declared that the right to self-determination is a fundamental principle of international law.

The meeting between the two Foreign Ministers touched on a broad range of subjects – a new joint chamber of commerce, the strengthening of economic relations, and the import and export of fuel between the two countries. But such a meeting between these two countries will set alarm bells ringing both in Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands, as the subject of sovereignty of these two territories being brought up is inevitable. And indeed, the two foreign secretaries have issued a renewed and determined call for the UK to enter bilateral negotiations over the Overseas Territories, which they describe as ‘colonies’.

In a statement – made as unique by the fact that it was issued jointly by Gibraltar and the Falklands as by the content itself – both Governments have condemned the democratic credentials of Spain and Argentina, for seeking to gang up in order to bully two very small territories. The statement set out that referenda held in both Gibraltar and the Falklands have made the wishes of their people abundantly clear.

The statement says Mr Margallo and Ms Malcorra need to understand that both Gibraltar and the Falklands are on the list of non-self governing territories held by the UN, and the UN’s mandate is to delist the territories according to the freely express wishes of the people in those territories. It says this principle cannot ben changed overnight on the whim of the Foreign Ministers of Spain and Argentina.

Meanwhile, the Leader of the GSD Opposition has described the latest events as an example of how detached from reality Mr Margallo really is. Daniel Feetham says there is no prospect of a Gibraltar Government of any political persuasion agreeing to negotiations on sovereignty with Spain, let alone bilateral negotiations. Mr Feetham says sabre ratline on sovereignty achieves absolutely nothing, especially for all the unemployed Spaniards on the other side of the border, and Mr Margallo should be looking at setting this issue aside and seek progress on cross border cooperation.