It was some time back in 1704 when a Spanish minister last set foot on Gibraltar after Spain ceded the territory to Britain under the Treaty of Utrecht.
After much diplomatic wrangling Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos is due to hold talks with his British counterpart David Miliband and Gibralter’s Chief Minister Peter Caruana on the rock itself. To ease concerns back home Moratinos said that Spain would never renounce its claim to sovereignty. Still he’s under fire from the opposition. Dolores de Cospedal spokesperson for the opposition Popular Party said: “We have already demanded that the government of Mr Zapatero cancels the vist of Mr Moratinos to avoid setting a dangerous precedent for Spanish foreign policy, which is to treat Gibraltar as a sovereign state.” The historic meeting nearly fell through after Caruana accused Spanish Civil Guard patrols of harassing shipping around the territory. Spats aside the majority of Gibraltar’s 28,000 population want to remain under British rule but improved relations with Madrid in recent times have proved popular.