Letter from Hon Peter Caruana QC, Chief
Minister, Gibraltar, to Rt Hon Tony Blair MP, Prime Minister,
7 May 2002
I write to you in relation to the current discussions
between HMG and the Government of Spain concerning Gibraltar.
We know, and appreciate that no agreement will
be implemented in practice if rejected by the people of Gibraltar
in referendum. The Foreign Office are well aware that the result
of any such referendum is a foregone conclusion.
However, by conceding the principle of shared
sovereignty to Spain, HMG will be legitimising her anachronistic
claim for all time in the eyes of the international community.
HMG will also be effectively denying the existence of the Gibraltarian's
right to self-determination (even as UK policy defines that right),
since such bilateral Anglo/Spanish agreements of the principles
affecting Gibraltarian's future rights and options are wholly
inconsistent with our right to self-determination.
I do not know if you are aware that the intention
is that any agreement between UK and Spain as to the principles
applicable will remain "on the table" as the agreed
position, even if rejected by Gibraltar in referendum (and thus
not implemented in practice). Gibraltar considers that this will
constitute a "done deal". We are told that the main
elements of these agreed principles will be non-negotiable in
future rounds of discussions. You may be aware that these are
the reasons why I am not participating in the talks.
We do not think that HMG can validly dissect
respect for our wishes into two separate facets: the practical
(ie implementation) in respect of which our wishes will be respected,
and the principles applicable to our rights and our future, in
respect of which our wishes, it appears, will not be respected.
According to press reports you are scheduled
to met Sr Aznar in London on 20 May 2002. I would be grateful
for the opportunity to meet with you before that date if possible,
otherwise, before HMG commits itself to any Anglo/Spanish Agreement
despite Gibraltar's protest and opposition thereto.
It would be my hope to persuade you of the dangers
for all parties of proceeding as proposed, and also of an alternative,
more constructive, way forward. The latter would avoid the concessions
of principles that your Government appears to intend to make to
Spain, to Gibraltar's political prejudice.
Recent Spanish public threats, at the highest
political levels, that if Gibraltar rejects the agreement, Spain
will continue with its campaign of harassment, are unacceptable
to the people of Gibraltar. I presume that Sr Pique's public threat
to the UK that if the UK does not enter into an agreement, Anglo/Spanish
relations would be "seriously damaged", are equally
unacceptable to HMG.
I am at your entire disposal as to date and
time. I am aware that there are many calls upon your time. However,
I hope that the gravity of this matter for Gibraltar will make
it possible for us to meet.
7 May 2002