Picardo calls for Gibraltar’s self-determination

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Fabian Picardo has called for Gibraltar’s self-determination and for a new treaty between the UK and the EU. He told the Conservative Party conference that the Rock’s “commitment to Britain is unshakable”.

The British Overseas Territory did not form a part of the 2020 EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

Round nine of talks on the future status of the Rock was pushed back last month following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Ahead of the rescheduled negotiations, Mr Picardo expressed his desire for Gibraltar to be self-determining.

He told the Gibraltar Reception at the Tory party conference that he felt among friends – and that he was sure the Government would help to ensure the future status of the Rock is a positive one.

The Chief Minister said: “And I know that we are two thousand five hundred kilometres away from Gibraltar. But I also know that I could very easily tonight have started my address by calling you all ‘my fellow Gibraltarians’.

“For each of you cares deeply about Gibraltar and our prospects for the future.

“I know you care as deeply as we do to ensure that every thing we do is designed to keep us entirely, exclusively and enduringly British. I know that you will work with us to ensure that Brexit delivers dividends for us in a new UK-EU Treaty on our future relationship with the EU.

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“And I know that, like every Gibraltarian, you will want to ensure that any such treaty is safe and secure for Gibraltar.”

He added that “I also know that we all agree that the future of Gibraltar can only be decided by the Gibraltarians and that your commitment to our self-determination is unquestionable”.

Mr Picardo paid special thanks to Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who he described as a “great friend of Gibraltar”.

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Spain has signalled that it is optimistic about the shape of future talks over the status of Gibraltar following Brexit.

A source close to the negotiations told EuropaSur that the country has an “enormous interest” in reaching an agreement.

They added that Spanish diplomats will remain on the table with the British delegation “for as long as it takes”.

Negotiators are reported to be questioning how Liz Truss will approach the talks as new Prime Minister.

But here, too, Mr Picardo signalled that he was optimistic, thanking the former Foreign Secretary for her “work and commitment” to the Rock.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

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