21st June 2024
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Spain ready to sign deal with UK on post-Brexit status of Gibraltar

Spain is ready to sign an agreement on the post-Brexit status of Gibraltar, Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares said on Tuesday, before setting off to meet newly appointed British Foreign Minister David Cameron in Brussels. He said he wanted the agreement to be signed this week – possibly Wednesday.

Albares said he had spoken with Cameron on Monday on the telephone and both men agreed to meet in Brussels to further discuss the status of Gibraltar there.

‘Spain put on the table, several months ago, a balanced and generous agreement,’ Albares said in a Tuesday interview with Spanish TV station Tele 5.

He said he was due to fly to Brussels later on Tuesday, and said that ‘Spain wants this agreement to be signed tomorrow’.

The status of Gibraltar, an enclave at the southern tip of Spain under British rule since the 18th century, and how to police the border with Spain, has been a point of contention since Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the European Union. The enclave was excluded from the exit deal reached between Britain and the EU.

Spain, Britain and the European Union agreed on 31 December 2020, hours before Britain’s full exit from the bloc, that Gibraltar would remain part of EU agreements, such as the Schengen Area, and Spain would police the port and the airport, pending a lasting solution. ALSO READ: Brexit trade deal agreed, but ‘UK & Spain still to reach agreement on Gibraltar’.

The European Commission and Spain sent Britain a proposal, including keeping Gibraltar’s land border to Spain, open in late 2022 and ensuring the free flow of people. ALSO READ: UK & Spain say ‘significant progress’ towards post-Brexit Gibraltar agreement.

Spain ceded the rocky outpost at the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea to Britain in 1713 but has long called for its return.

ALSO READ: Spain rejects Gibraltar’s accusation of ‘gross violation of British sovereignty’.

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