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Gibraltar bombshell: Spain went 'over the line' with secret plot to remove UK sovereignty


Spain’s embassy in Washington DC pushed back after signing a resolution backing Gibraltar’s British status according to some current and former members of the House of Representatives. The congressmen said although diplomats should be allowed to argue their case, the attitude of Spain’s officials was at times seen as “belligerent”, “forceful”, “aggressive” and “over the line”.

One congressman said: “The Spaniards went nuts.”

A letter reportedly shows the then Spanish ambassador drove a plan, a few months after the Brexit referendum, to end Britain’s sole sovereignty over Gibraltar to instead share the territory with Spain.

The plan would see Gibraltar residents getting Spanish as well as British citizenship.

It would also set Spain as having equal say in the territory’s foreign policy, defence and immigration.

The plan would also get rid of the Spain-Gibraltar border.

The Spanish Embassy’s backlash appeared through calls into offices, requesting face-to-face meetings and sending notes signed by the Spanish ambassador to congressmen.

The main complaint was that UK’s claim to sole sovereignty of Gibraltar was wrong.

The backlash lasted from about 2014 to 2019 according to congressmen.

READ MORE: Spain drops desperate sovereignty claim over Gibraltar

Gibraltar’s residents have strongly rejected the idea in the 2002 referendum.

The territory is seen as strategically important due to defence reasons.

Congressmen George Holding and David Rouzer from North Carolina, Ken Calvert and Paul Cook from California, Gerry Connolly from Virginia and Jim Sensenbrenner from Wisconsin all said they received a backlash over Gibraltar.

Rodney Frelinghuysen, who retired as a congressman of New Jersey last year, also said he experienced the push back.

Mr Holding introduced a resolution in 2014 which declared the House of Representatives “recognises Gibraltar as an overseas territory of the United Kingdom”.

He has since tabled the resolution in every new Congress.

Mr Holding said Ramón Gil-Casares, the then Spanish ambassador to the US, wrote him letters in 2014 and 2015 opposing the statements in the resolution.

A letter sent in 2015 declared “deep regret” over the resolution and said Gibraltar was a “colony” which did not have “the right to self-determination”.

According to the Telegraph, the Spanish Embassy said the communications did not amount to “reprimands”.

The Embassy source said: “It is common practice for the Embassy to communicate Spain’s position on different issues to the US Congress, Gibraltar among them. However, these communications cannot, by any means, be considered reprimands.”


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