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    A general view shows the Spanish city of La Linea de la Concepcion (rear) and the tarmac of the Gibraltar International Airport (bottom L) while tourists stand on the top of the Rock (R) next to the European Union flag, in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, September 14, 2016

    Spain Calls on UK to Use 'Common Sense' in Dispute Over Gibraltar

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    Spanish Defense Minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal said that Spain has been always claiming and will continue to claim its sovereignty over Gibraltar.

    MADRID (Sputnik) — The United Kingdom should "stick to common sense" when discussing the issue of the Gibraltar sovereignty following former Tory leader sabre-rattling remarks, Spanish Defense Minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal said Tuesday.

    On Sunday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said that the United Kingdom remained committed to supporting Gibraltar and would never negotiate its sovereignty. On the same day, former Tory leader Michael Howard said that the UK prime minister would be prepared to go to war to protect Gibraltar as Margaret Thatcher once did for the Falklands.

    "Spain has been always claiming and will continue to claim its sovereignty over Gibraltar. But it's obvious that since Gibraltar is with the United Kingdom, the fate of the UK awaits it. If they are out of the UK, then they are out of the UK, with all the consequences. It's very easy to understand. But to start a fight or war on this issue — one must rather stick to common sense," de Cospedal told the TVE channel.

    The minister added that UK politicians' words were aimed at the public at home rather showed their understanding of the situation.

    Gibraltar's status after the UK withdrawal from the European Union is one of the pressing issues in Brexit talks, with the bloc suggesting that a separate agreement between London and Madrid would be required for any EU-UK deal provisions on Gibraltar.

    On Monday, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson reiterated the nation’s commitment to maintaining the British sovereignty of Gibraltar, which voted overwhelmingly to stay part of the United Kingdom at a referendum in 2002.

    Gibraltar was taken from Spain in 1704 and ceded to Britain in 1713. Madrid continues to lay claim to the territory, despite two referendums showing that most of its 32,000 inhabitants favor staying with the United Kingdom.

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    Maria Dolores de Cospedal, Gibraltar, Spain
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