Sunday, 24 October 2010

Tripartite Process: Is it about Cooperation or Sovereignty?

Recent pronouncements by the Chief Minister on sovereignty, the Trilateral Process and Gibraltar's relationship with the MOD have left me confused and concerned.

In his Ministerial Statement of the 14 October he said that Spanish incursions into Gibraltar's British territorial waters impacted on " ... the viability of cooperation in matters relating to waters". He was very careful throughout this statement to limit any consequence of these incursions on the Trilateral Process to " ... cooperation in matters relating to waters ..." whilst giving the impression that the consequences were far more serious than that by the mere effect of the whole context of the statement and making his pronouncement in a rarely used "Ministerial Statement" on GBC.

No wonder that Spain was so sure that the Tripartite Process would continue without even a pause, which was what Moratino said the very next day. He must have been sure of his ground, especially as in his statement the Chief Minister states unequivocally that " The Trilateral Forum of Dialogue, which ... is in everyone's interest, is a political achievement of which I am especially proud " whilst covering the other angle by saying that he is " ... more firmly committed to the robust and resolute defence of our Sovereignty".

In this same Ministerial Statement he acknowledges the UK's Constitutional role and obligation to defend Gibraltar's British territorial waters and admits that Gibraltar does not have the resources to do so itself. Then he goes on to suggest, in my view incautiously, a military escalation by writing to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs seeking that he consider " ... the systemic deployment and intervention of the Royal Navy in support and protection of the RGP ..." Thankfully the F & CO put matters in perspective, rightly in my opinion, by resorting to diplomatic protests.

Promptly thereafter, the Chief Minister contradicts himself. In his speech at the Guildhall in London on the 19 October he announces that the MOD are guests in Gibraltar by using the word "host". He said "... for Gibraltar the ability to host Britain's military installations is our way of being able to invest something back into the Great British family ...". Why, where and when would guests (which I do not agree is what the MOD are in Gibraltar, as they are here as of right, otherwise British sovereignty becomes an irrelevance both on land and sea) be obliged to defend their hosts?

Now let us recap again. My understanding is that the GSD spin (and probably honest take and belief) on the Trilateral Process is that it is about cooperation and not sovereignty but that there is nothing to prevent Spain raising the issue of sovereignty. If they do so Spain would receive a gentle or not so gentle rebuff from Gibraltar. I was surprised, therefore, to read in the Chronic (22 October) that the Ministerial meeting within the Trilateral process was proceeding on the 3 November, that the waters' issue would be discussed at that level and that technical talks on every other aspect, except those touching directly or indirectly on territorial waters, would continue in the meantime.

Well, pray how can this be? The whole dispute over territorial waters ONLY concerns sovereignty. There are two diametrically opposed stances. The UK/Gibraltar position that the waters surrounding Gibraltar are British territorial waters traversed by Spain's position that no territorial waters have ever been ceded to Britain. Consequently, how is the issue of the waters surrounding Gibraltar going to be the subject matter of the next round of the Trilateral Process at Ministerial level, with the Chief Minister participating, without those discussions necessarily including a discussion on sovereignty of the waters and thus not being just about cooperation?

My view is that one mission and aim for the Trilateral Process has been partly accomplished by others, as predicted in this blog in past pieces. That mission has been to get the affected parties to talk about the real problem: sovereignty. Has Gibraltar been checkmated? Time alone will tell. The Chief Minister's belief (22 October Chronic) is "what we have achieved in the last four days in discussions with Spain and London is their agreement on the matrix of meetings that we wanted". I wonder why Spain and London have agreed to Gibraltar's matrix for these talks?

One consequent issue that Gibraltar's leaders will have to wrestle with in the future, if my analysis that the Trilateral Process will become a forum to discus sovereignty is correct, is how will Gibraltar be able to extricate itself from the Trilateral Process without causing a major diplomatic rupture? Maybe, in time, younger Gibraltarian will not want to, who knows.


  1. Ghost says:

    You are off on yet another crusade to try discredit Caruana's position I see. Surely you do not consider real politics to be an exact science? The understanding of diplomatic skills as well as capturing the mood and awareness of the parameters that surround us is key to any future aspirations that we might have.

    The question of Sovereignty is a non negotiable fact that both Spain and Gibraltar hold and in which their positions are well known. Your title therefore is predetermined to suit your analysis. Any talks between Gibraltar and Spain will by pure default carry the question of Sovereignty in one form or another.

    The tripartite talks allow both Spain and Gib to maintain their respective positions and to all intents and purposes shelve the issue whilst other common ground can be found. Your reaction now may be, what a crock of sh*te given recent shenanigans by Spain. My thoughts on recent events, not least the CM's UN speech (which even the Paranoia headlined as a hammering on Spain), show Gibraltar publicly holding Spain to account and quite frankly making them look like amateurs by comparison.

    My point being that 10 - 15 years ago our position on anything relating to Spain, Sovereignty or las tres maria en la Piazza would have been.....oh please please please can we remain British. Today our position is an entirely different proposition, you have to at least agree on that surely? You must accept this and the fact that Spain recognize us in a very different way to how she viewed us a decade ago.

    Yes we continue to have problems and this will never cease, but we now live in a far more confident and stronger Gibraltar in which the tripartite talks allow us the opportunity to speak for ourselves and not sheltered under the british wing (if you can call it sheltered).

    The talks are about many things, cooperation yes, but also about standing our ground on OUR OWN TWO FEET and yes about Sovereignty, lets not kid ourselves; but by far more important, it is about diplomacy, negotiation and it serves all parties with a diplomatic platform from which to voice an opinion. It does one more thing though and this relates only to Gibraltar.....the tripartite talks have afforded us a new position, Spain and Britain are the same beasts today as they were three centuries ago, the only difference is now there are diplomats to replace the frigates. Gibraltar has entered a new level in its political history and in the same way that Ghandi challenged the Empire in a none aggressive manner we too are playing the same game and in my view, we are currently at the top of the league table, with a way to go till the end of the season.

    Ok - let the massacre begin.


  2. This is not political commentary. It is just a second guessing exercise which is very easy when you are not in a position of responsibility. In order to qualify as a political commentator you need to provide alternatives: in this case how to deal with a not too friendly but comparatively powerful neighbour.

  3. Anonymous at 20:12

    May I suggest that you read the book written by the US Senator that intermediated the Northern Ireland/Eire/Catholic/Protestant problem and then say what you have said. The dynamics of international dispute resolution are fully discussed in that book, which I have read with great interest. One can only comment from what is in the public domain. The argument made is entirely made from what is in the public domain. If you have a contrary argument make it do not just dismiss my argument without providing an alternative scenario.

    As to the provision of alternative policies on this subject, that is not the task of a political commentator that is the task of politicians. Despite that I have in previous pieces discussed an alternative which is put up and shut up and demand the rights we are entitled to (which is all that the Tripartite process has delivered) or discuss the issue with Spain openly, namely the issue of sovereignty, without slowly eating away at Gibraltar's case bit by bit, which is what the Tripartite Process is doing.

    You will shout immediately that we in Gibraltar do not want the latter. Then we have to put up and shut up until and if we in Gibraltar change our mind or there is leadership sufficient to take us to such talks. After all if we are as self-governing as the GSD say that we are then we control our own destiny within our borders without either the UK or Spain having a say, or is this not the case, it is just a pretence to keep the masses quiet?

  4. Sheer nonsense. I do not provide a contrary argument because you singularly fail to articulate any argument yourself. You limit yourself (or are limited) to criticising without any logical framework or intellectual discernment. I am not saying that the CM's choices in relation to the Tripartite talks are right or wrong; time will tell. But what you are doing is pontificating in a particularly slovenly manner. And I do not "shout", I leave that to you and this poor excuse for a "blog".

  5. Ghost......2010 17:26

    "Gibraltar has entered a new level in it's political history," By implication, do you mean that Caruana has taken us there?

    You also say that "In the same way that Gandhi challenged the Empire......."
    Are you therefor also by implication comparing Caruana with Gandhi?
    Let me tell you that Bapu Ghandi that great and saintly man must be turning in his resting place in the mother Ganga, to be compared to the the most pompous, pretentious , self-opiniated man with delusions of greandeur Gibraltar has ever produced.
    Caruana is at the very opposite pole of Gandhi's HUMILITY.

    I will give you two quotes of Mahatma Gandhi.

    All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on foundamentals. Any compromise on mere foundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.
    Mahatma Gandhi.

    I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your head before anyone. Even at the cost of your life
    Mahatma Gandhi.

    May I humbly request that you spell his name correctly.

  6. Nothing but mindless drivel from LW.

  7. Fred quotes Ghost:

    "...the fact that Spain recognize us in a very different way to how she viewed us a decade ago."

    Fred quotes Revision Estrategica de la Defensa:


    4.- Riesgos principales para nuestra seguridad

    La limitación al ejercicio de la soberanía que supone la presencia colonial británica en Gibraltar no sólo constituye un factor distorsionador para la acción exterior de España, sino que puede presentar otros problemas, ya que pueden desarrollarse desde el Peñón algunas operaciones militares sin participación española, sobre espacios de interés estratégico para nuestro país, como son los accesos al Mediterráneo y al Atlántico."

    Ultimately Spain still sees us as an insult to her pride, and the tip of the spear for Anglo-Saxon influence in what she sees (correctly) as her area of vital geostrategic interest, namely Canarias-Gibraltar-Baleares axis.

    The Tripartite must be understood in this context and we delude ourselves if we think that Spain sees it as anything other than a tactical step towrads her strategic objective of controlling ALL the waters from the Canaries to Balearics, to the detriment of Morocco, the UK and the US.

    Wake-up barristocrats and start to see the world as power politics, and not your emasculated court scuffles.

  8. Robert, it is 'a pretence to keep the masses quiet'.
    My view is that the deeper we get in the Tripartite process the closer we get to the sovereignty issue. Once that happens and we (or PC ) rejects Spain's proposals whether this happens in the near future or when Rajoy gets in, we are in for a rough ride from our neighbours.

  9. Ghost at 17:26

    I disagree with your views but respect them. I do not intend to reply to any save your comment about this being another crusade to discredit Caruana. I totally reject this assertion. I have given my honestly held opinion, that it is Caruan is not of my making. It is him for various reasons.

    He is Chief Minister. He is charged by his own choice with matters related to Spain. He acknowledges that the Tripartite Process is his baby. He makes it is own so how else can I comment on this subject without reference to him?

  10. Anonymous at 21:33

    I guess you will not be coming back to read any more of my mindless drivel. Please continue reading Mr Caruana's pronouncements, he knows. Thankfully I have an ever increasing readership that enjoys, whilst not necessarily agreeing with, what I write.

    Alternatively you could enlighten us with your superior knowledge rather than just insulting me or perhaps that is the level of education that you have and I should simply forgive you like Jesus Christ who wisely said "Forgive them for they know not what they do".

  11. Anonymous at 20:51

    You bottle out again and resort to insults LOL.

  12. Ghost says:
    Anon 20:59. No I am in no way or form comparing Gandhi (apologies for the spell) to Caruana. Completely different characters and abilities as well as a very different fight and cause with very different outcomes. What I refer to and which you clearly miss the point on is that the tack and line that we have taken under Crauanas reign has been similar, with regard to FACT that our rights as Gibraltarians are clear and unquestionably on our side; the key element here being the harassment of our rights and our approach to how we overcome this. I trust this will clarify.

  13. Ghost Says:
    Anon 24 Oct 22:58.

    I am sorry you feel this way. Clearly your view by implication is that we should stand by and do nothing. If you read my piece, you will note that I am NOT suggesting that the tripartite talks will solve our problems, but they have indeed placed us on a new footing and one which has lead to a Spanish Foreign Minister step on our land and meet with our Chief Minister on an equal level and to boot, where he refers to his own journalists and suggests that our mind set on Gibraltar needs to reflect the politics of the 21st CENTURY; I can only assume that he was talking to his fellow Spaniards at the PP and you of course.

    If you require another example of why this process has amplified our position internationally, you should look around you and I am sure if you were to look objectively, you will see a more mature Gibraltar able for the first time to speak its mind and actually have a right to veto in talks with the confidence to hold Spain to account. If you cannot see this or refuse to see it I fear that your mind set may well be one of defeat, and insecurity, something I sincerely hope is limited to only a few.

    Interestingly enough it is not only Caruana that believes the Tripartite process to be a giant leap for Gibraltar; there are those on the other side of the bench that strongly believe in this too. So much so that I understand there was a breakfast meeting held in Madrid recently.


  14. I have only made 1 comment on this blog and it was answering Ghost. I believe him or her to be totally bias and without reasoning. He/she is obviously a GSD psycho-fan who does not wish to argue things rationably. He/she are the sort of people that were called the hasheo group of the GSD inorder to discredit anything and everything which is do to with the GSLP or anyone who dared to critise Caruana. I believe that this blog is a positive thing and that Robert or LV in writing the articles he does is what has been missing for a long time. So to Ghost i say come out of the closet and declare that you love!! Caruana. And to robert or LV chapeau and carry on with this blog as you feel like and write from the bottom of your heart and not from your as Ghost is.

  15. LLanita from Gibraltar says...

    I agree with anon 13.09.

    This is your blog Robert, please continue as you are and ignore the party political propaganda machinery that serve only to rubbish opposing opinions in a desperate attempt to quell any dissent among the minions!

    and for the record... In my opinion,its all about sovereignty and only about sovereignty, in the past, the present and in the future and those that fail to see this are only deceiving themselves!

  16. Ghost Says:
    Anon 24th Oct 20:59

    No I am not suggesting that one can compare Ghandhi to Caruana, they are clearly two very different characters.

    My point which you seem to have missed entirely is the approach which one might take against the harassment that any community or nation is under. The comparable being that our battle to seek our right to decide our future is impossible to loose under any normal circumstance as was India’s.

    How we handle ourselves politically is crucial and it seems to me that to date this game has been played well and without provocation; furthermore because of the fact that our political maturity and diplomacy is at the highest level we now also have the attention of those who for decades have chosen to ignore us and dismiss us. We are no longer being dismissed, we are most definitely no long being ignored either by the Brits or more importantly the Spanish and we now sit a position which not so long ago would have been untenable, not least because we were being threatened by direct rule.

    So to reiterate, there is no need for anyone to spin in their grave as the comparable references made, (had you taken the time to read my piece) were driven by situation not character.

    Thanks for the quotes particularly the one on give / take and fundamentals, I will repeat with your permission:

    “All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.”
    you should read that one to all those that can’t get their heads past the tripartite talks including LW.

    Our fundamental is NO negotiations on sovereignty, but can we learn to compromise and communicate without dropping our guard and seek to improve our position? My view is…… absolutely! If we do not we remain stagnant and with no direction or will to evolve.

  17. I publicly supported the Tri-partite Process when it was agreed. At the time I was preparing to stand for election on a platform which was as critical of the GSD as it was of the GSLP (which, rightly or wrongly, I still believe both broadly represented the same set of vested interests).
    I still think that the Tri-partite Forum was Peter Caruana's greatest achievement for Gibraltar and would go as far as saying that it expiates many of his errors and shortcomings as I see them. The Cordoba Agreement finally recognised the Gibraltarians as at least an equal party in the Spanish question. I lived through the 13 years of the last Spanish siege and have a clear memory of the days when Gibraltar was tossed around in the treacherous winds of Anglo-Spanish expediency. Had any one predicted then that a Gibraltarian Chief Minister would one day sit as an equal with the Foreign Ministers of the UK and Spain he would have been accused of substance abuse or worse.
    I am convinced that Joe Bossano would have also signed up to the Process if it had been possible to do so during his terms in office.
    If any more proof is needed of the resounding success that this has been for Gibraltar it is in the anti-Gibraltarian Partido Popular's announcement to-day that it favours the cancellation of the Tri-partite Process. Soon the PP will replace the PSOE in government and the challenge then will be to preserve the gains that we have made since September 2006.

  18. HI Ghost, as to your first intervention:

    I did not mean to be rude or dismissive it is just that we are at such opposite poles that I did not wish to reply and commence an argument. As you have taken my motivation wrongly, I will reply to you in more detail.

    I repeat it is not a crusade to discredit Peter Caruana. I am expressing my view. As I have said it just happens that they do not coincide with those of the GSD and it so happens that it is Mr Caruana who is in charge of this policy and proclaims his pride in it. He may well be proved right in time but I do not agree with the policy comprised in the Trilateral Process.

    Of course politics is not a science at all, that is why different opinions are held and that is why I am free to hold a different opinion on this subject from that held by the GSD.

    My title does not pre-determine anything. It is a HEADLINE. Headlines are intended to simply reflects and give a prospective reader an idea of what the piece is about.

    I am glad that you concede the very point that I am making, namely that any talks between Gibraltar and Spain will by default carry the question of sovereignty. We are agreed on this fundamental point then. I do not understand therefore how you can go on in the next paragraph to contradict this statement by saying that the question of sovereignty is shelved in the Tripartite Process. I fear that this is the stated intent but not the reality, precisely because of what you have said, any talks between Gibraltar and Spain must include the question of sovereignty. Holding Spain to account is an irrelevance in the context of the question of sovereignty inevitably being engaged, as you have agreed.

    I do not accept that our position has changed in the last 15 years. It is still the desire for Gibraltar to remain British. This is enshrined in the 2006 Constitution. This position has not changed one bit. Spain sees us the same. It is simply using a different strategy and distinct tactics. This is plain to see if you open your eyes to look.

    The Tripartite Process allow us to speak for ourselves. That is an undoubted fact but what has to be analysed and what I have analysed in my way and to come to my opinion is what I have written. I fully recognise and accept that there are other opinions, not least that which is held by the GSD and Mr Caruana.

    Spain and Britain are far from being the same as they were 300 years ago. Gibraltar has not, in my opinion entered a new level of politics. We are in a place, the Tripartite Process, which is not beneficial even were we willing to negotiate sovereignty. This process is simply gnawing away at the sovereignty issue in a manner that when it has to be confronted (and that time WILL arrive) Gibraltar will have been weakened.

  19. HI Ghost as to your second intervention:

    Stand by and do nothing? Absolutely not, the choice is limited because the overwhelming majority of Gibraltar wants to remain British so it leaves little room for any movement but is it so bad not to have the Tripartite Process? We may need to put up with inconveniences. My position is that if and when Gibraltar is ready (it may not ever come but that will depend on leadership) sovereignty will have to be discussed. These discussions would concentrate on maintaining our distinct and separate being and existence and a higher level of self-government. What is unacceptable is that Gibraltar's separate and distinct existence should be eroded.

    A Spanish Foreign Minister visited, big deal. Is it any different from a British Foreign Minister visiting? I suggest the only difference is that the former is a Minister from the country that claims our sovereignty.

    Gibraltar has always spoken its mind. It has never needed nor does it need the Tripartite Process to do so. To suggest that only now we can voice our opinion because of the Tripartite process is to ignore the last 50 years of history.

    I do not know anything about a breakfast meeting.

  20. Hi Ghost, as to your third intervention

    No one has ignored us for decades. Spain and Britain have been all ears and we have won through every time. Look back at recent history and remember the resilient resistance that Gibraltar has put up against Spain and also recent attempts by Britain to compromise with Spain. We have so clearly been heard for ever.

    You concede in your first intervention that sovereignty is a question that by default will arise in the Tripartite Process. Now you say that there will be NO negotiation on sovereignty, which is it? Please make up your mind.

  21. I have to say that Mr. Gomez once again hits the nail firmly on the head. Robert is advocating the policy of the Ostrich.

  22. Hi Anonymous at 21:47

    The ostrich or the eye of an eagle that sees things for what they are and is prepared to call a spade a spade? The dispute is about sovereignty let us all get real. Let there be leadership and let that leadership acknowledge that fact and ensure that Gibraltar's negotiating position is not eroded by skirting round issues.

  23. Ghost says:

    Robert, I've enjoyed the banter and like you will agree to disagree. I was not expecting a rebuff from you and would never dream of accusing you of being dismissive, regardless of what anyone says about you...:) Your reply to my second and third interventions are somewhat limited of any substance and you suggest that we continue with our way pre the tripartite talks; even Bossano and Picardo agree that the tripartite process is of benefit to us. You really should look into that breakfast in Madrid by the way...:)

    Your views are way too rigid (in my opinion) to translate into anything that can take Gibraltar further.

    I am pleased however that on some matters we agree, not least on the fact that Gibraltar is better economically than ever before and that the GSLP currently provide no real opposition, particularly when you consider as you did in your last piece that Bossano is still their only hope. This in my view is a great shame and a waste of 16 years.

    The tripartite in my view and returning to your headline, is about an array if issues and yes it may well be that on occasion the matter of sovereignty will be raised - so what? This can hardly weaken our position, at the very least it will only remind Spain that we respectfully decline any negotiations on our sovereignty.


  24. In your case Robert it seems that it is more like calling a spade a spoon. With all respect your arguments on this occasion to not stand up to scrutiny.

  25. LLW's being deliberately misunderstood here.

    He's demanding political honesty and openness on this issue as with many others. Is that so difficult with some people and politicians that they should also get so affronted by it?

  26. Robert, your request for me to list the gains for Gibraltar of the Cordoba Accord discloses historical amnesia. 40 years ago Gibraltarians were refused participation in matters which concerned Gibraltar. The UK and Spanish governments discussed our future in private whilst our Chief Minister was made to wait outside the conference room. From 1969 - 82 we were kept locked in waiting for the London and Madrid to find time in their Foreign Ministers' busy agendas to discuss our fate. Our siege did not particularly affect Anglo-Spanish relations which remained cordial! Sir Joshua Hassan did much to ensure that our people were treated with the dignity that we deserve - he faced down the Spaniards in the UN. Later Joe Bossano cemented our credentials as a people by presiding over the creation of a self sufficient economy so that we did not have to go cap in hand to London whilst Madrid tried to strangle us. At last, under the Cordoba Accord the UK and Spain agreed that in matters appertaining to Gibraltar we must at least have an equal voice. No big shakes for someone who does not have a grasp of history, but for those of us with a memory, the Tri-Partite Process is the successful culmination of our national endeavour / struggle of the last 1/2 century. Do you still want a list, Robert?

  27. Why does everyone keep saying "16 years". 1996 to 2010 is 14 years. Caruana has been in power - and Bossano in opposition - for 14 years (and a bit).

    Both Government and Opposition are in favour of the Tripartite Forum but there is not much point in these regular Working Group meetings as everything is referred for a decision at a political level.

    Everything discussed is political and has sovereignty implications, as Llanito World rightly says, so the meetings should always be Ministerial - granted not at Secretary of State level each time but possibly at more junior Minister level.

  28. I believe that the tripartite process is that a PROCESS. It is clearly a process for us Gibraltarians to be woed for Gibraltar to become Spanish. All Spanish politicians at least in the PSOE believe this and they have said so. The British in turn who most of the time speak with folked tongue tell the Spanish to woe us into submission. But the most dangerous thing of all the PROCESS is that it is aided and abetted by our own Chief Minister who is taking part in this woeing all be it at times trying to show that he is a true Gibraltarian like he did in his infamous Ministerial Statement. Remember the only one who will sell Gibraltar will be the Gibraltarians and Peter is being a good candidate for that. Lets not forget that Peter Montegriffo was advocating a deal with Spain ie "give and take". I do not agree with Peter Montegriffo at all, But one thing can be say about Peter Montegriffo is that he was honest and said things openly and frankly speaking so did J E Triay with the blessing of Peter Caruana. (Our current Chief Minister plays with words but lacks the honesty that is essential for Gibraltar at this time. I cannot believe that the Chief Minister had the audacity to say that he will not participate in the tripartite talks and then a few hours later in London and then in Gibraltar after his return he said that it was safe to go again with his usual play of words. Further he has come out today saying that he would have removed the buoys placed by Spain on our waters but then said it would have cost nearly £500,000 and that we did not have the resources to do this. Lets see things as they are and not how we would like to see them. The reality is that the tripartite talks are all about sovereignty as far as Spain is concerned and that the Brussels Agreement is still alive and kicking (see UN response from Spain year after year and what the UN 4th Committee has said today).

  29. Charles:

    The re-writing of history commences.

    You ignore the good work of Sir Joshua Hassan and Peter Isola in the 1960's and 1970's who ensured that Gibraltar's voice was heard loudly;

    You ignore the Referendum in 1967;

    You ignore the great public demonstrations throughout the 1960's, '70's, '80's and '90's;

    You ignore the work of Joseph Bossanno;

    You ignore the work of Sir Robert Peliza and Maurice Xhiberras; and much much more that has ensured that Gibraltar has remained British.

    At last the Cordoba Joint Communique gave us a say? I invite you to visit the attached link that analyses a Spanish view on this

    You will see that Spain does not consider much has changed since the rejected attempt in 1984 under the Brussels Agreement (see bottom of page 4 and top of page 5).

    I also invite you to re-read my analysis in which I suggest that the dynamics of international diplomacy are to get the parties talking. Your argument is that we have been graciously granted this "right". My analysis goes to the possible reasons why, which you do not answer. I will not repeat what I have already written.

    Yes, Charles I do want a list of tangible benefits ...

  30. Robert, I mention Sir Joshua in the 11th line of my contribution and Joe Bossano in line 14. Yet you say that I have ignored their work? Why? Over the years many other Gibraltarians have championed our cause including Sir Robert Peliza and the late Peter Isola and yes the 1967 Referedum was a high water mark of our struggle to fend off Spain's annexationist ambitions. But that is precisely my point - whereas for decades Madrid refused to recognise our rights and tried to bludgeon us into submission, in the Cordoba Accord Madrid recognises those very rights. Not, as you say, because of some "gracious grant" but because generations of Gibraltarians have fought for that recognition with huge tenacity and at a great cost to those of us who endured the siege and other "restrictions". If you cannot see that as a tangible benefit then I have to conclude that not only do you respond to contributions without first taking the trouble of reading them but you also fail to appreciate that which is obvious to anyone with a bit of common sense and a clear head (including the Andalucia PP, who recognises the Tri-partite process as a major victory for the Gibraltarians).

  31. Charles:

    "Mention" is the correct word as regards Hassan and others but no great attribution to any of them. I attribute to everything that I outline the importance that it has. It was Gibraltar having a say. It was a "say" that was effective to retain Britrish sovereignty. Britain heard us and always acted on our behalf and in our support, save on one occassion when mixed messages were recived from Gibraltar by Britain and those led to the attempted "joint sovereignty" deal, which by dint of Spain asking for more (and not of any demonstartion), like Oliver, was set aside.

    Madrid has NOT recognised our rights. They have accepted us round the table because, in my view, as enlarged upon in this blog on various occassions and as expressed in the article to be found at the link I have given you, it suits them to have us round the table. It gives them a say on our affairs and also allows sovereignty gains to be made without the issue being negotiated favourably for Gibraltar.

    What the PP of Spain think is an irrrelevant consideration to what Gibraltar's views are and should be. I read your comment that i was replying to in its entirety and actually pre-empted that your response would be in line with what it has been.

    There is no need to resort to disparaging remarks to win an argument. It is a sign of a weak argument.

    Importantly, I wait patiently for that illusive list of tangible benefits, be careful I already have a reply in mind ...

  32. I understand what Charles Gomez is saying and to be honest it has made me rethink my views on the tripartite process, he is saying that the benefit that Gibraltar has obtained is recognition and he has based his argument in a solid historic context. But I really do not know what you are getting at Robert. It would help if you were to start by explaining in simple terms in which of our affairs Spain has a right.

  33. Anonymous at 21:15

    I do not understand the premise of your question, Spain has no "right" nor have I said anywhere that I has. Spain has a claim and which both Britain and Gibraltar reject.

  34. Charles.........26th October 2010 19:23

    It is incredible that people who try to protray themselves as politicians know so little about politics. Do you think that any political party is going to agree and boost political decisions take by the opposite party?
    What did you expect the PP to do applaud the Tri-partite process? They have not since they lost the election agreed with anything the PSOE has done. Not even in their fight against ETA inspite of the results achieved. How can you be so naive.
    Did you by any chance see on Spanish TV what members of the PP thought of the change of the Spanish Cabinet when they were having a conversation amongst themselves and what they said in public ( Antena 5 used somebody to read their lips) the contrary to what they had said in public.


  35. Charles Gomez little understands the real political dynamics and politics in Spain. Oscar has correctly pointed this out.

    Charles Gomez has swallowed the local political propaganda hook, line and sinker from the advocates of this Tripartite process of which he was one and, obviously, is unable to extricate himself from it now.

    The sovereignty claim over Gibraltar is permanent and can never be given up. All Spanish politicians are agreed on this and their history proves it.

    Everything that they do, say and agree is openly premised on that express claim and as an overreaching and paramount objective.

    The assumptions that Gomez (and others) try to convince the rest of us about are factually and politically unreal, irresponsible and misleading because Spain has never indicated, done or said anything to the contrary.


  36. Bhaji: I do not think that Charles is naive but Oscar is right and in politics today it is normal for people to say the opposite of what they think. This is why people have such a low opinion of politicians and politics attract so many creeps. I remember that in one interview before the last election Charles said that he did not think of himself as a politician but wanted to get into paliamant to act a check on the activities of the politicians.

  37. Surely Charles Gomez is in the next gsd line up?
    He seems to fit the criterea so well... at first a caruana adversary (rosia tanks, cj case, power station etc), then caruana woos (in secret), next thing an adversary becomes a partner (feetham, golt, etc).

    I speculate purely for hasheo value not in anyway to undermine charles' views express above.

    On another note - the people of the streets of Gibraltar are deeply confused about about talks that were off-but then on once buoys they didn't know were there were removed.

    the fishy smell isn't coming from the waters that surround us

  38. List of benefits to Gibraltar of Tri-partite process:

    1.Recognition by Spain of Gibraltarian institutions;
    2. Framework for regional co-operation;
    3. Opening of channels for cultural exchanges.

    This is not to say that Spain has dropped its claim for sovereignty and by the same token Gibraltar's rejection of the Spanish claim remains as solid as it was in 1967.

    I do not seek to convince anyone of anything but have never doubted my right to express my views - that's democracy for you!

    I also think it proper to counter what I consider to be irrational arguments such as, with respect, I think LW is promoting.

    For the record I did not provide the list which Robert has been so insistently demanding because I thought the benefits were so obvious. I am surprised that Robert thinks that what I consider to be patently real is "illusive" (or maybe he meant "elusive").

    Anon @ 22.03 yesterday suggests that I want to extricate myself from the position that I took even as the Foreign Ministers and the Chief Minister were meeting in September 2006. This is not so, I stand to be convinced of any argument but the anti-Cordoba camp just does not make sense to me and the most recent anti-Cordoba advocates appear to me to be ever more detached from reality and inarticulate.

    Maybe in a spirit of positive debate and inquiry the anti-Cordoba camp could explain which of the list of benefits is in fact not good for Gibraltar.

  39. Alas I have not been wooed by the Chief Minister and just as well because I am not sure that I would enjoy the experience; and I think that Peter Caruana will feel the same (but I still think that the Tri-partite process is good for Gibraltar).

  40. Charles

    You now resort to listing your srguments avoiding listing tangible gains. We wait for that list of tangible gains patiently. I meant illusive as in illusionary but elusive is descroptive of your desire not to list what you consider to be so obvious.

    Irrationality can be in the mind of the reader and the manner he reads an argument. It can arise from a desire not to comprehend brought about by political bias, prejudice or expediency. Please read what i write from a cold objective lawyers viewpoint rather than a subjective viewpoint of a politician with predetermined policies.

    What list of benefits? You have not providrd it yet. I have made my arguments.

  41. Robert, Let us leave the matter to the jury of public opinion in the form of your esteemed readership. I think that we have both said as much as needs to be said (and maybe more). When a debate descends to what is and what is not a list I think it is time to say "I rest my case".

  42. Charles you have listed three benefits above of the Cordoba Agreement which I believe did not need the agreement. 1 Recognition of our institutions. Franco recognised that and Spain was willing to accept our way of life including OUR INSTITUTIONS so long as we became Spanish. 2 Framework of regional co-operation. I believe that where money is involved ie co-operating with our neighbours in business issues and co-operation at governmental level has to happen for a number of reasons and the one which is the most important is that both Spain and ourselves are part of the EU. Yes Spain will try to ignore this fact but even with the Cordoba Agreement Spain uses the EU to further its claim . eg the waters issue. 3 Opening of Channels for cultural exchanges. Again this has been happening without the Cordoba Agreement. we can all remember the failure of the Transborder Institute which was headed by Francisco Oda who has been entrusted to now run the Instituto Cervantes. All in all we do not need to sign an agreement to be able to get on with "Our Neighbours".
    But since it is now signed I think that what should be done is to use it to our advantage and not be forced in any way or put in a position where we have to accept things that are not in Gib's interest. One thing we should not have accepted is the Airport Agreement which this GSD govt signed up to which is the same as the one we all rejected in 1987 and Caruana has conned us all that it is different. This was done to appease Spain.

  43. Parking the sovereignty issue (the ostricht syndrome with a very long neck buried deep in the sand), as we'r doing, is giving Spain more political oxygen to harass Gibraltar at the border (there are more fromtier delays not less) and over territorial waters.

    What's going to happen if and when the PP take over from the PSOE? The full political assault that Sanchez has already started? What's the reason? SOVEREIGNTY, SOVEREIGNTY & SOVEREIGNTY!

  44. Charles

    The debate has not descended to what is in a list. The list simply evidences what in substance the Trilateral Process might be. You and the GSD say it is NOT about sovereignty but that it is about cooperation.
    If one sees what has come out of the process so far it is an indicator of what it is or is not about. Is that why you are so shy about providing the list that I have been asking for?

    No worries, I will do it for you. I will start by analysing the intangible benefits that you have listed and then go on to analyse other matters that have come out of the Trilateral Process. I will then leave it to the esteemed readers of this blog to come to their own conclusions but I believe that the list tends in favour of supporting the analysis that I have provided in this piece.

    Recognition by Spain of Gibraltar Institutions- Spain has never, to my knowledge not refused to recognise our institutions. I am not sure that the Cordoba Joint Communique has added to that state of affairs.

    Framework for regional cooperation, I think that I only need to give the example of Sanchez, the Mayor of La Linea, to illustrate how successful this has been. The regional cooperation that exists is down to individual economic benefits to each side of the frontier. This has never needed political interference since the re-opening of the border.

    Opening of channels for cultural exchanges, other than for the yet to be opened Instituto Cervantes (it has been 6 years since it was agreed) cultural channels have all been from private initiatives.

    Let us turn to tangibles:

    Spanish pensions resolved, net gainers: Spanish Pensioners.

    Gibraltar Airport, massive cost to Gibraltar, not a brick laid by Spain, flights to Madrid ceased, flights to other Spanish destinations never commenced.

    Fence/Frontier, well plain for all to see and in any event a right that Gibraltar by reason of EU membership.

    Telecommunications, well a case was started in the ECJ because Gibraltar had an entitlement. In any event telecommunications with Spain was agreed years before between Spain/UK at the time of the opening of the border or even before.

    Commision Mixta de Cooperacion y Colaboracion, where is it?

    Ports, need I say more than Guardia Civil incidents in the Bay?

    I trust this will give a flavour of why I was challenging you to provide a list. You rest your case too soon my learned friend.

  45. Charles

    let me continue a little more by giving you some quotes.

    The Brussels Agreement, " ... within the framework of this process, issues of sovereignty will be discussed".

    The Cordoba Communique, "The Government of Gibraltar understands and accepts that references to sovereignty in this Communique are bilateral to the UK and Spain".

    Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos August 3 2004, after the Cordoba Communique, in El Pais article , the Spanish Government "wants to work calmly towards the attainment of a global and satisfactory agreement for all the parties involved ... " and then at the III Ambassadors' Conference in Madrid on September 6 2004 "we propose to advance through a policy seeking to generate a dynamic of joint interest shared with the people of Gibraltar." he was referring to advancing Spain's sovereignty claim.

    Prime Minister Rodriguez Zapatero at the UN General Assembly added that Spain's will was to negotiate on the issue of Gibraltar and that he hoped to "reach solutions which benefits the region as a whole and that the voice of that non-autonomous territory is heard".

    I now rest my case.



    Caruana & Charade = Cordoba & Constitution
    (politics) (POLITICS)

    Cordoba & Constitution = Crap & Crap

    Crap & Crap = Confusion & Control

    Confusion & Control = Caruana & Chief
    (politics) (politics)

    politics 4/6
    people 2/6

    66.666% politics v. 33.333% people

    democratic deficit > 50%

    politics > people



    POLITICS + PEOPLE > politics > people



    POLITICS + PEOPLE > politics > people


    (POLITICS)2 = (PEOPLE)2 > politics > people

    politics = 16% v. people = 8%

    (POLITICS (42%) = PEOPLE (46%)2 = 84% : 92%

    8% benefit for people of gibraltar = CRAP & CRAP + CONFUSION & CONTROL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  47. Anonymous said...

    12 October 2006 - The Chief Minister

    "...a future GSLP/LIBERAL Government would deprive Gibraltar of the huge benefit of these agreements, and of the advantageous and safe trilateral process that obtained this normality for us"

    Any comments?

    6 OCTOBER 2010 00:05

    (The "Leader" Says All is Good, so do not Worry. SATURDAY, 2 OCTOBER 2010)