Despite an historic visit by a Spanish government minister to Gibraltar, Madrid is making clear that its claim on the British territory has not changed.
The Spanish Foreign Minister was the first cabinet minister to visit Gibraltar in more than 300 years. Officials avoided the question of sovereignty and focused instead on practical cooperation. Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said: “This is a forum of dialogue and cooperation, but not a forum to discuss or debate the question of sovereignty. The British know very well the position of Spain, which will never renounce the recovery of Gibraltar’s sovereignty.” The British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, said: “I want to say on behalf on the British Government, that we are absolutely determined to be part of a coord (interrupted) … process that brings further tangible benefits to the people of Gibraltar and the people of Spain as well.” Officials yesterday agreed to restart a ferry link between Spain and Gibraltar. This comes on top of lighter border controls and direct flights already agreed between the two. Britain seized Gibraltar during the War of the Spanish Succession in 1704. It was formally ceded to Britain in a treaty nine years later, but Spain has always demanded its return.