Britain is ‘in permanent breach’ of ‘a UN mandate’ urging bilateral sovereignty talks over Gibraltar, Spain’s acting Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo said yesterday as he presented awards to several Spanish law enforcement officers and officials for their work relating to the Rock.
Sr García-Margallo presented Spain’s Order of Civil Merit to three Guardia Civil officers and a Policia Nacional officer, all of whom work at the border. The award was also conferred on the Captain of the Port of Algeciras and the Spanish navy commander in that port.
In presenting the awards, Spain’s acting Partido Popular government reaffirmed its tough stance toward Gibraltar and warned that good relations with Britain would not come at the expense of Spain’s claim over the Rock.
The formal event was also attended by Spain’s acting Minister for the Interior, Jorge Fernández Díaz, who said Gibraltar “hit a raw nerve for Spaniards” and described Sr García-Margallo as “a patriot”.
There was no formal reaction from the British or Gibraltar governments, although privately officials viewed the comments with scepticism given the current political uncertainty in Spain.
The presentation of the awards came as PSOE leader Pedro Sanchez started complex talks in a bid to form a coalition of left-leaning parties and fill the political vacuum left after the general election last December.
Other than the timing of the event itself, there were few surprises in the content of the foreign minister’s speech yesterday, which reflected the caretaker PP government’s fixation with the Rock over the past four years.
FULL STORY IN OUR PRINT AND E-EDITIONS