The Fourth
Committee on

September 2000

These extracts
show the material
relevant to Gibraltar

UN Press Releases

Extract from UK Press Release GA/SPD/184.

As the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) heard petitioners from Non-Self-Governing Territories this morning, both the Chief Minister of Gibraltar and the Leader of the Opposition in that Territory agreed that self-determination for their people was a matter to be decided by the people of Gibraltar alone.

Peter Caruana, the Chief Minister, said it was unhelpful for the Committee to approve, year after year, a resolution calling for dialogue between the United Kingdom -- Gibraltar’s administering Power –- and Spain together for their mutual convenience.

Despite Gibraltar’s desire for dialogue with Spain, it was unreasonable to expect the people of Gibraltar to enter into such a dialogue without a structure that, by denying them a proper place at the table, prejudiced their substantive position and rights.

Noting that Spain and Gibraltar agreed on the need to decolonize the Territory, they disagreed profoundly on how that should be achieved, he said. Only through dialogue, good relations and cooperation with Spain could possible solutions be explored that were acceptable, primarily to the people of Gibraltar, but also to the United Kingdom and Spain.

However, such dialogue must be structured so as to give the people of Gibraltar, as the primary interested party, a proper voice of their own.

Joe Bossano, Leader of the Opposition, said that neither Spain’s veiled threats of hostility to Gibraltar’s aspirations, nor the United Kingdom’s neglect of its Charter obligations, nor the Committee’s indifference to the people repeated calls for justice and recognition of human rights by the people of Gibraltar would deflect them from their path.

The Committee was paying lip service to its duty under the Charter, while turning a blind eye to the connivance of two Member States putting their own national interests above the rights of a colonial people. Only the people of Gibraltar could decide their future -- not the United Kingdom, and not Spain.

He said the Opposition agreed with the Government that Spain had no say in the Territory’s decolonization and that it was a matter between the colonial people and the administering Power. On the other hand, it seemed the height of duplicity for the colonial Power to say that only one option for decolonization was open to Gibraltar, and yet to reject that option. It was tantamount to condemning Gibraltar to perpetual colonial rule.

Extract from UN Press Release GA/SPD/186

SILVIA CORTES (Spain) said she supported the declaration of a Second Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism. In that effort, the occupation of Gibraltar was still a matter of great concern to her country. The position of Spain on this issue had been stated many times, most recently on 14 September, before the General Assembly. Gibraltar is a colony subject to the decolonization process, and to all relevant United Nations resolutions. Spain would not withdraw its rightful claim for sovereignty over it.

There had been no recent progress, and Gibraltar had become a problem for neighbouring areas because of its duty policy on goods. It had become a dumping area and was impoverishing its neighbours because of its financial and corporate systems. The security of the 300,000 residents of those areas had also been adversely affected by the military base. Spain was open to constructive dialogue on the issue and would work with the Committee to end that historical anachronism.

SARAH BAMBER (United Kingdom), speaking in right of reply to the statement by the representative of Spain, said that the British Government’s well-known position on Gibraltar had been stated in the General Assembly on 13 September.

Extract from UN Press Release GA/SPD/187

By a draft decision on Gibraltar (document A/C.4/55/L.4), the General Assembly would take note of the fact that the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Spain and the United Kingdom hold annual meetings, alternately in each capital, the most recent of which took place in London on 10 December 1997. It would urge both Governments to continue their negotiations with the object of reaching a definitive solution to the problem of Gibraltar.

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