In Paris British and Spanish government officials got together on Wednesday (15 March) for further talks on the centuries-old dispute over Gibraltar.
EXTERIOR MV: Gibraltar Opposition Leader Maurice Kiderras steps from car and talks to newsmen on step of L'Chateau in Paris.
GV: British Foreign Secretary Dr David Owen leaves car and talks to newsmen (2 shots)
GV: Spanish Foreign Minister Marcelino Oreja Aguirre steps from car and enters building.
INTERIOR MV: Aguirre walks through foyer
INTERIOR GV: Kiderras, Owen and Aguirre pose for newsmen.
DR. OWEN: "I'm not going to do anything that is not acceptable to the people of Gibraltar. And that is why I'm extremely keen and very grateful that the Spanish Government has accepted that Sir Josua Hassan and Mr. Kiderras should be here at these meetings. Nothing is being done behind the backs of the Gibraltarians."
REPORTER: "Have you papers or only ideas...working papers?"
DR. OWEN: "No we're not exchanging documents. This is a discussion."
The Spanish Government has been campaigning for years to have Gibraltar ceded to it from British control. Britain has always contended that it has legal sovereignty over the territory through the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713. Since 1963, Spain has intensified a campaign of restrictions on Gibraltar, particularly in the communications field. The current talks are aimed at settling the problem of control over Gibraltar in the best interests of its people.
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Background: In Paris British and Spanish government officials got together on Wednesday (15 March) for further talks on the centuries-old dispute over Gibraltar. Britain was represented by Foreign Secretary David Owen, and Spain's negotiators included the Foreign Minster, Marcello Oreja. Gibraltar's interests were represented by its Chief Minister, Sir Josua Hassan, and Opposition leader Maurice Kiberras.
SYNOPSIS: The meeting took place at the Chateau De La Muette, the headquarters of the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, (OECD). The new round of talks on the future of Gibraltar followed a meeting between Britain and Spain in Strasbourg in November last year. But even before Wednesday's negotiations got underway, both sides admitted that no quick solution could be expected. Gibraltar's Opposition Leader Maurice Kiderras told newsmen he was looking forward to a useful meeting that would pick up where the Strasbourg talks had left off. Britain's Foreign Secretary Dr. David Owen stressed the importance of having the two Gibraltar leaders involved in the talks. But he too warned that negotiations could be drawn out.
Dr. Owen said the Spanish Foreign Minster, Senor Marcelino Oreja had shown great readiness to enter the latest round of Gibraltar talks.
After the initial round of discussions, which lasted more than four hours, the British and Spanish negotiators said progress had definitely been made. Dr Owen said there were signs of increased confidence between the parties.