09:14 GMT +318 January 2020
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    MADRID (Sputnik) – Gibraltar’s authorities are ready to hold direct talks on all the relevant issues with Spain during and after the UK withdrawal from the European Union, Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said, stressing that the issue of sovereignty over the region was out of the question.

    "We have a desire to continue talks about the future and to work directly with Spain … We do not need a veto to sit at the negotiating table," Picardo told Gibraltar’s lawmakers on Thursday as quoted in a statement issued by the government’s press service.

    Despite the recent threats and claims that Brexit would be the best opportunity for Spain to gain sovereignty over Gibraltar in 300 years, the region would be part of the deal on the UK divorce with the EU and the transition period, Picardo argued.

    Spain, which has long laid claims to Gibraltar which is a British Overseas Territory, has recently threatened to veto the UK-EU Brexit deal unless it is amended to include provisions ensuring direct Madrid-London talks on the issue of Gibraltar.

    Gibraltar, located on the southern coast of Spain, has been a British Overseas Territory since 1713, when Spain ceded it to the United Kingdom under Utrecht Treaty. The region’s residents rejected the idea of Spanish sovereignty in 1967 and joint UK-Spanish authority in 2002.

    READ MORE: PM May Says UK 'Steadfast in Support' to Gibraltar Despite Brexit

    The region is set to leave the European Union together with the rest of the United Kingdom in March 2019. The Brexit agreement between London and Brussels includes a special protocol on Gibraltar.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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