The Voice of
Press Release

22nd. DECEMBER 2003

Last week in The Commons, Foreign Office Minister Denis MacShane said that the UK Government's 'objectives remain to secure a stable and prosperous future for the Gibraltarians and will continue (its) dialogue with Spain and Gibraltar to this end'.

The Minister will have ample opportunity to talk to Gibraltar's elected representatives when the constitutional reform proposals are imminently presented.

Dr. MacShane also made it clear that 'there will be no change in sovereignty without the consent of the People of Gibraltar'. Meanwhile the Spanish Government makes it patently obvious that nothing has changed. So, if HMG genuinely respects the result of the 2002 Referendum and understands it's clear-cut message, what exactly does the Minister intend to discuss with his counterparts at the Palacio de Santa Cruz ?

If the intention is to use all of HMG's diplomatic, political and legal muscle to uphold Gibraltar's rights, lift present vetoes and restrictions, putting an end to Spanish aggression, then, such a shift in policy will be warmly embraced. However, if this is merely a subtle ploy to conjure up a 'feather duster' to revive Jack Straw's policy within the Brussels Process, then, Dr. MacShane, any other Ministers or F&CO officials for that matter, will not be welcome on the Rock for the tercentenary celebrations.

Whilst taking Sir Francis Richards well - meant comments, in the House of Assembly, at face-value, The Voice of Gibraltar Group calls on the Governor to request, from his peers at the F&CO, precise indications of the agenda they have in mind. A reply is eagerly awaited as past letters to Dr. MacShane, Jack Straw and the Prime Minister remain unanswered.

Finally, The Group endorses the Chief Minister's and Leader of the Opposition's statements on sovereignty, self - determination, decolonisation, EU participation, and Spanish restrictions and they can count on its support on these issues at all times.

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