Annex 1 (l)
Letter from Hon Peter Caruana QC, Chief
Minister, Gibraltar, to Rt Hon Tony Blair MP, Prime Minister,
8 November 2001
As you will be meeting Sr Aznar tomorrow I thought
that it would be appropriate that you should know why it has not
been made possible for me to be present, as I would have liked,
at the forthcoming talks under the Brussels Process in Barcelona
on 20 November.
Participation in that Process is extremely controversial
in local political terms. The Brussels Process is viewed with
deep suspicion in Gibraltar. Despite that I have for many years
now defended the view that it is safe to participate in it, but
subject to certain terms which I have repeatedly stated and upon
which I have given many public commitments.
These terms are that the Gibraltar Government
should have its own separate voice at talks. The reason for this
is that, if we accept to participate in dialogue which is structured
as bilateral between the UK and Spain, we are conceding Spain's
contention that we do not enjoy the right to self determination.
It is not reasonable to expect us to do that, just as Spain is
not expected to concede her sovereignty claim.
The other term is that the UK should assure
me that nothing will emerge from or be agreed at talks unless
all of HMG, the Spanish and the Gibraltar Governments agree. The
alternative, which is not reasonable, is that we are expected
to participate in a process of dialogue, that we legitimise by
our presence, but in which others arrive at agreements above our
heads. I cannot think of any sensible politician (with an electorate)
who would place himself in such a position.
Despite repeated and sustained effort on our
part to procure these terms, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
has failed to accommodate them.
If it were possible to accommodate our terms
we would hope to participate in future rounds of talks.
8 November 2001