Letter to the Chairman from Rt Hon Peter
Hain MP, Minister of State for Europe
I wanted to update you on Gibraltar following
the resumption of the Brussels Process on 26 July.
The meeting went well. Jack Straw set out our
aim, through the Brussels Process, of finding ways to overcome
all the differences between us and Spain over Gibraltar which
would be acceptable to the people of Gibraltar. In explaining
our position, Jack made our constitutional commitment to the people
of Gibraltar very clear. He also made clear that we did not see
the Matutes proposals as forming the basis for discussion in the
future, since they were based on a pre-determined outcome on sovereignty.
Señor Piqué accepted that the
Matutes' proposals would be put to one side and would not form
the basis of discussions in the future. He also agreed readily
that the support of the people of Gibraltar was vital to the success
of the Brussels Process and that would welcome Chief Minister
Caruana's participation in future meetings.
On the issue of telephones, Señor Piqué
offered a further 70,000 numbers from the Cadiz exchange, in addition
to the 30,000 numbers presently available in Gibraltar. In addition,
both sides agreed that technical discussions should be pursued
urgently to reach a longer-term solution to the issue, addressing
four points: the use of the +44 code for calls from Spain to Gibraltar;
dropped calls from third countries to Gibraltar, least cost routed
via Spain; roaming agreements to allow Gibraltar mobile phones
to work in Spain; competition and taxation issues.
I telephoned Peter Caruana immediately after
the meeting to brief him on its outcome.
Initial reporting of the meeting in the Gibraltar
media has been positive. I thought you might be interested in
the enclosed articles from Friday's Gibraltar Chronicle5.
I also enclose a copy of the press release which Jack and Señor
Pique put out after the meeting.
There will be further meetings at official and
Ministerial level in the autumn to take forward this start, and
we will continue to consult very closely with Peter Caruana. I
hope that you and I will also be able to stay in close contact
on Gibraltar issues over the coming months.
Rt Hon Peter Hain MP
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
30 July 2001
7 Gibraltar Chronicle, 27th July 2001. Not herewith