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UN VISIT: Picardo clashes with Spanish diplomat

UN VISIT: Picardo clashes with Spanish diplomat

CHIEF Minister Fabian Picardo has travelled to New York to again tell the UN that Spain must accept the wishes of Gibraltarians to remain British.

Mr Picardo and a delegation from Gibraltar recently attended the United Nations Fourth Committee meeting to discuss decolonization and other political issues, including sovereignty.

He told the UN’s Special Political and Decolonisation Committee that the Spanish Government has been on the wrong side of history every time it comes to Gibraltar and that Spain had continued to disrespect Gibraltarians’ choices after the referendums of 1967 and 2002. 

His speech was followed by one from senior Spanish diplomat Francisca Pedrós, who trotted out the Spanish Government’s archaic line that Spain would never drop its claim on Gibraltar.

She said that after five decades since the 1967 referendum “there is nothing to celebrate” as far as Madrid is concerned.

“More than three centuries later,” said Sra Pedrós, “the integrity of Spanish territory continues to be unfortunately impacted by the existence of a colony in our country.

“Spain has not ceased to request the restitution of this territory and will continue to do so until its decolonisation takes place.”

She attacked The Rock for pumping raw sewage into the sea saying Gibraltar should have used some of its ‘considerable wealth’ to care for the environment by building a sewage treatment plant instead of allowing sewage to ‘simply pour into the sea’.

But her most stinging rebuke came over Gibraltar’s tax regime that she referred to

as an ‘unfair and illegitimate privilege that this regime provides to the economy of the Rock and the illegal trafficking that it gives rise to, in particular the smuggling of tobacco already in the hands of organised crime.

She said: “This has produced really tense and dangerous situations in the neighbouring municipalities, forcing the Spanish security forces to increase its personnel in the region and putting in danger the safety of the people.”

This was a clear reference to the death of a La Linea policeman last summer. This bizarre comment appeared to suggest that the price of tobacco in Gibraltar was responsible for the death of 46-year old Victor Sanchez, who met his death in pursuit of smugglers.

Mr Picardo later said that it was “utterly disgraceful” for the Spanish Government to suggest that Gibraltar was in some way to blame for Mr Sanchez death and that in so doing had dishonoured the life of the late officer.

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