Blogging from the Murcia region of Spain until early June, when I return to
the Highlands of Scotland for a few months

'Fair and softly goes far' - Miguel de Cervantes

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Spanish Foreign Minister makes historic first visit to Gibraltar

For the first time in 300 years a senior Spanish official has made an official visit to the British colony of Gibraltar. According to Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, the Spanish claim of sovereignty over the Rock is "permanent and irrevocable", but nevertheless accepted that in the 21st century the difference of viewpoint about the status of Gibraltar was better considered through dialogue and cooperation rather than isolation and confrontation (as occurred during the period 1969-1985). The talks today (yesterday now) concluded with a list of commitments in six areas: environment and shipping, financial services, fighting crime, education, judicial matters and police and customs matters relating to visas.

On such an auspicious day one feels a little like the character in the Bateman cartoon for having the indelicacy to raise the cases of Ceuta and Melilla; as any Spanish schoolchild will tell you they cannot be compared in any way with Gibraltar. Curiously enough my Moroccan friends when I lived in Casablanca many years ago took a somewhat different view. I'm afraid that then as now I maintain a position of strict neutrality on the matter!

PS/ The Beeb's report on the day's events is here.

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