It was willing to discuss with Spain on all issues, but not sovereignty

© RIA Novosti / Elena Shesternina of Gibraltar. Archival photoIt was willing to discuss with Spain on all issues, but not sovereignty© RIA Novosti / Elena Shesternina

The Gibraltar government is ready to discuss all issues with the Spanish government during and after Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, however, the question of sovereignty is not negotiable, said the chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo.

Earlier Spain said they would not support the agreement on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU and the political Declaration on future relations, if they will have fixed her right to participate in the negotiations with great Britain on the question of Gibraltar. In addition, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said that the question of joint sovereignty of great Britain and Spain over Gibraltar should be discussed «during the transition period» (British exit from the EU).

«Despite the threats that we face, the challenges we overcame, and some statements about what Brexit will become Spain’s best opportunity in the last 300 years to obtain sovereignty over Gibraltar, or at least part of it, Gibraltar, no matter what, will be included in the agreement output (UK EU) transition period,» said Picardo, speaking to the Gibraltar Parliament. His statement was circulated by the press service of the government of Gibraltar.

According to him, this will become the «guarantee of confidence» for businesses and residents at least until 31 December 2020, «during which it will discuss the future relations of the UK, including Gibraltar and the EU.» According to him, Gibraltar «cannot be a separate part of the agreement.»

The chief Minister said that the claims of Spain on the need for special mention of Gibraltar in documents is not justified, since this was not discussed at negotiations «at this stage».

He also added that Gibraltar is interested in cooperation with Spain more than with any EU country, since it «from the point of view of geography, the door to Europe.» «So our desire to continue negotiations about the future and to work directly with Spain,» he added. «No one should think that we interpret any part of this agreement as an opportunity to escape this political reality. We don’t need veto power to sit down at the negotiating table,» said Picardo.

The UK will leave the EU on 29 March 2019. Negotiations about conditions of withdrawal of Britain from the EU are ongoing since last summer. On Thursday, the draft political Declaration on the future relationship of the UK and EU after Brexit was agreed at the level of negotiators. Previously, the parties had also agreed on a draft agreement on «divorce», which should be considered by the heads of state at the summit on Sunday. The UK will leave the EU on 29 March 2019.

Territorial dispute over Gibraltar between Spain and Britain has lasted for more than 300 years. In referendums held in 1967 and 2002, approximately 99% of Gibraltarians want to remain part of Britain. On site there is the Constitution, adopted by referendum in 2006, according to which legislative power belongs to the Queen of great Britain Elizabeth II and the Parliament of Gibraltar. Spain considers Gibraltar as its territory, has proposed to the UK to establish over Gibraltar «joint sovereignty». Over time, believes Madrid should be restored Spanish sovereignty over the territory.

Spain had previously agreed with the UK Protocol to Gibraltar, which shall become part of the agreement for Brexit, a number of memoranda on specific issues, and agreement on taxes.