STATEMENT BY THE CHIEF MINISTER
"Contrary to specific statements attributed to Sr Matutes in the Spanish press, the F&CO continue to assure the Gibraltar Government that no deal or agreement has been entered into to sanction or permit fishing in Gibraltar waters in breach of the laws of Gibraltar. The F&CO has informed the Gibraltar Government that statements attributed to Sr Matutes, and the Spanish Officials, are incorrect.
The Gibraltar Government has throughout this issue, demanded an unconditional return to the status quo between 1991 and 1997. This means a return to respect by the Spanish fisherman for the authority of Gibraltar's law enforcement agencies and therefore an end to the defiance of our sovereignty, jurisdiction and control over the waters.
The F&CO has assured the Gibraltar Government that this is precisely all that has occurred.
Talk in the Spain press (since corrected and retracted by Sr Spiteri) of a return to the pre 1991 position, that is, prior to the passing of the 1991 Ordinance is out of the question.
The return by the fisherman to the status quo between 1991 and 1997 will have to be seen and assessed in practice and will have to be tested by the RGP.
The Government of Gibraltar would welcome a return to normality on this basis, which would presumably allow the RGP to also return to its enforcement attitude during the years 1991-1996. This will properly secure all aspects of sovereignty, jurisdiction and control which are to fundamental importance to Gibraltar.
The inhuman delays as the frontier imposed as a reprisal by Spain are unjustifiable and should never have been imposed. Their removal is not a relevant factor in the Gibraltar Government's position, not is it a bargaining chip, in the illegal fishing incursions matter."