Spain calls for negotiations on Gibraltar at the UN while Picardo defends self-determination

by Lorraine Williamson
Gibraltar ape

Madrid – Spain has called for negotiations with the UK regarding the sovereignty of Gibraltar at the UN Decolonisation Committee. However, the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabián Picardo, vehemently opposes this and claims that Spain has “no legal or political right” to demand the return of the territory, which was ceded to the UK under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. 

“Let us hope for a change in policy by the UK that allows us to finally close this sad chapter of colonisation,” said the Spanish Ambassador to the United Nations, Agustín Santos Maraver, who will be the number two on Yolanda Díaz’s Sumar list. 

In response, Picardo asserted the right to self-determination for Gibraltar and warned that the territory “belongs to the Gibraltarians, period.” He added, “And if someone doesn’t like it, tough luck, because that won’t change,” emphasising that the fire to fight for recognition burns fiercely. 

“Our homeland is not a bargaining chip” 

“Good luck to those who think they can impose their sovereignty on us against our wishes,” Picardo retorted to the UN Decolonisation Committee. During his address, he made it clear that as long as he remains Chief Minister – elections are scheduled for the end of the year and he admitted that this could be his last speech before the committee – “there will be no concessions to our sovereignty.” He emphasised, “Our homeland is not, and will never be, a bargaining chip at any negotiating table.” 

‘Universal right to self-determination’ 

Picardo defended his presence at the committee to ensure that the voices of Gibraltarians are not silenced and their rights are not undermined. He stated, “I hope that the arc of the universe bends toward justice because there is an undeniable truth: the right to self-determination is not a privilege reserved for the great and powerful.” He added, “It is a universal right, as applicable to the people of Gibraltar as to any other non-self-governing territory under Chapter XI of the United Nations Charter,” highlighting that the size of their territory does not determine the legitimacy of their aspirations. 

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In this regard, Picardo criticised the committee for failing to fulfil its objective of assisting in the decolonisation about Gibraltar, urging them to “fulfil their mandate.” He stated, “The worst form of colonialism would be to continue ignoring our voice.” 

The “recolonisation” of Gibraltar 

Resolutely, Picardo urged the UN committee not to “aid or instigate the recolonisation of Gibraltar by a foreign power (referring to Spain) by not accepting the obvious truth of facts and law.” He clarified, “This is not about demanding the return of what they have ceded.” The Chief Minister emphasised that there is “no legal or political right” to now demand the return of Gibraltar and dismissed the notion of a “sovereignty dispute” over the territory. 

Regarding the ongoing negotiations between the EU and the UK under the Brexit framework, Picardo stated that they are committed to a treaty that respects their past, acknowledges their present, and guarantees their future. He declared, “A treaty that honours our unique history and position and does not compromise an iota of our sovereignty,” delivering a clear message to Brussels, negotiating on behalf of the Twenty-Seven, as well as Spain. 

Also read: Spain and UK extend temporary Gibraltar agreement 

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