About Jimena de la Frontera, the province of Cadiz and Spain as a whole, focused on this small village in the mountains

Historic Spain/Britain/Gibraltar meeting today

moratinos Today marks the first time a top ranking Spanish Government Minister sets foot on Gibraltar in at least 300 years. The Tripartite Forum ministerial-level talks start after lunch this afternoon. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, Spain’s Foreign Secretary (photo), landed in Jerez this morning and met with local (Campo de Gibraltar) mayors later, before heading for the Rock by car for talks with Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Peter Caruana and Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband. Two items have been excluded from the agenda: sovereignty and water jurisdiction around the Rock.>Previous meetings at this high level have been held in Córdoba (2006) and London (2008) and at no time have the talks included the touchy subject of sovereignty.

This time the meeting’s agenda includes cooperation on either side of the frontier to benefit the local population, organized crime, visas, maritime cooperation and environmental issues. These will join previous agreements on other subjects such as joint use of the airport, reached in 2004.

The Partido Popular, Spain’s main opposition party, has asked that sovereignty talks be resumed “as soon soon as possible”, a suggestion immediately rejected by the Government. Equally, Javier Arenas, the PP’s spokesman for Autonomous and Local Affairs, has asked that the subject be raised at a meeting between Moratinos and Miliband scheduled in Jerez immediately after the encounter in Gibraltar.

(Prospero comment: In chewing the cud with journalist and friend David Eade this morning, he pointed out that a press conference was to be held after only two hours of talks, whereas previous talks took about two days. His conclusion: “Everything has been agreed beforehand.”)


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