The Spanish
Foreign Minister

Letter to Madrid
Jack Straw
Responds translation of letter

Mr. D. Jack Straw
Secretary of State
Foreign Affairs
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Thank you for today’s letter in which you inform me of the conclusion of the conversations between the delegations of the United Kingdom and Gibraltar to grant a new constitutional text to Gibraltar, and which clarifies some key problems related to this text that will be reflected in the "Dispatch" to be sent to Governor of Gibraltar and that accompanies and supplements the constitutional text.

The Government of Spain understands that the United Kingdom has concluded the work of modernisation of its relationship to Gibraltar in the framework of the projects begun in 1999 for all the British dependent territories ("British Overseas Territories") to develop local self-government, and to encourage practices of good Government.

To this end, neither the constitutional text nor the proposed referendum in no way affects the ongoing process of decolonisation, under the United Nations mandate. The position of my Government is that this poll is no more than the democratic expression referred to in the proposed text by the inhabitants of Gibraltar of their right to choose an improved system of modern and effective government.

On the other hand, I would like to express my gratitude for your confirmation of the validity of the Treaty of Utrecht on behalf of the United Kingdom, which is in no way affected by the new constitutional text.

It is good to note that with this new constitutional text does not change in any manner the international status of Gibraltar, which continues being that of a "British Overseas Territory", under British sovereignty and for which the United Kingdom continues to assume the full international responsibility.

Equally we note confirmation of the fact that the possible inclusion of the right to self-determination must be accomplished according to the existing principles and rights of the Charter of the United Nations and with the Treaty of Utrecht, recognising the different circumstances that affect Gibraltar in the process of decolonisation with regard to the other non self-governing dependent territories of the United Kingdom.

I understand by all this that your Government continues to be fully committed to finding a definitive solution to the Question of Gibraltar, that the General Assembly of UN has requested continuously from 1964, and most recently on the 8th of December last year. This solution, to be agreed between the Government of Spain and that of United Kingdom, is be adopted to the light of the appropriate Resolutions of the General Assembly and applicable principles, and in accordance with the United Nations Charter.

In this context, my hope Mr. Secretary is that we can, without further delay, continue the negotiations between Spain and the United Kingdom in the spirit of our joint Statement of 27th of November 1984. to solve, in accord with the United Nations mandate, and listening the interests and aspirations of the population, the problems of sovereignty related to Gibraltar.

Finally, I want to state that the new constitutional text, or any activity or measure adopted in the application of the same, or as consequence of the same, is completely without prejudice to the position of Spain in relation to the controversy on the sovereignty of the territory of the isthmus that was not relinquished together with the City of Gibraltar to the British Crown by virtue of Article X of the Treaty of Utrecht, and nothing thereinafter.

I am convinced of the fact that the spirit of friendship and co-operation that underpins our relationships and that has allowed the start of the forum of dialogue over Gibraltar will remain in effect for the good of our countries and of the population of the Campo Gibraltar and of Gibraltar.

NOTE: This is an unofficial translation of the letter based on a document obtainrf from the MAE website and is believed to be accurate - please report any errors to the webmaster
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