JOINT PRESS RELEASE BY THE BRITISH FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH OFFICE, THE SPANISH MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND THE GOVERNMENT OF GIBRALTAR
On 27 October 2004, the British and Spanish Foreign Ministers, Jack Straw and Miguel Angel Moratinos, made a joint statement in Madrid, on which the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Peter Caruana, had been consulted and has separately expressed his agreement. Accordingly, and without prejudice to their respective positions, the Governments of the United Kingdom, the Kingdom of Spain, and Gibraltar now confirm the establishment of a new three-sided forum for dialogue on Gibraltar, separate from the Brussels Process.
The modalities of this forum will be as follows:
- Dialogue will be on an open agenda basis, and therefore any of the participants may raise any issue relating to or affecting Gibraltar.
- Without prejudice to their constitutional status (including the fact that Gibraltar is not a sovereign independent state), each of the three parties will have its own, separate voice and each will participate on the same basis.
- Any decisions or agreements reached within the forum must be agreed by all three participants. If the three parties wish to take a decision on an issue in the forum where formal agreement would properly be between the UK and Spain, it is understood that the UK will not agree thereto without the Government of Gibraltar's consent.
- The forum shall be convened with the three parties at ministerial level at least once every 12 months. Other meetings of the forum shall take place at a time and level agreed by the three participants.
- The forum may create working groups as necessary to address specific issues.
- The forum will, in their deliberations, take account of the activity of the 'Comision mixta de Cooperacion y Colaboracion' established on 18 November 2004 between the Mancommunidad de Municipios de la Comarca del Campo de Gibraltar and the Government of Gibraltar, to ensure co-ordination between the work of the forum and the Comision mixta.
- Accordingly, through this forum of dialogue and by these modalities, the parties shall endeavour to create a constructive atmosphere of mutual confidence and co-operation for the benefit and prosperity of Gibraltar and the whole region, in particular the Campo de Gibraltar.
- Finally, and in order to preserve the viability of this process for all the parties, they will refrain from making public statements which distort or misrepresent the basis, purpose or modalities of this forum as set out in this statement.
16 December 2004