Spain’s new government is pushing Britain to negotiate over Gibraltar without consideration for the wishes of the inhabitants of Gibraltar. Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo wrote to his British counterpart to this effect after British Prime Minister David Cameron promised last week to respect Gibraltar’s right to self-determination. The majority in Gibraltar wants to remain British, but Spain does not recognize this right.
The Times reports that new Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will demand that Gibraltar not be a part of negotiations over its future. This, wrote the Times, “marks a hardening of Madrid’s position over its controversial claim for the return of the Rock.”
In recent years, negotiations have been tripartite, between Britain, Spain and Gibraltar, and Gibraltar has held a veto over any potential deal.
The Gibraltar news source Panorama writes: “The new PP [People’s Party] government is obviously seeking to go backwards to the days of General Franco when they did not like to refer to the government of Gibraltar, because they probably see that as ‘independentist’ in Gibraltar’s case, and prefer to speak about the ‘Gibraltar authorities.’” It notes how “hurriedly” the new government has brought up the issue after its election in November.
This push to exclude Gibraltar from negotiations comes just over a week after former Europe Minister Peter Hain said that then Prime Minister Tony Blair came close to giving up the Rock in 2002. He said that Mr. Blair was “contemptuous” of the wishes of the inhabitants of Gibraltar to remain British and wanted “to secure a better relationship with Spain” and remove Gibraltar “as an obstacle to our relations within Europe.”
Mr. Hain claims that Britain made a deal with Spain on April 18, 2002, to share sovereignty over the area and allow Britain to keep a naval base there. The Spanish vetoed the deal.
Britain has already come close to giving away the Rock. With the Spanish pushing for Gibraltar once again, will Britain have the will to hold on to it? Bible prophecy says it won’t. ▪