14:26 GMT +311 December 2018
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    The Union Jack (L), the Gibraltarian flag (C) and the European Union flag are seen flying at the border of Gibraltar with Spain, in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, historically claimed by Spain April 3, 2017.

    Spanish PM Threatens to Cancel Sunday Brexit Summit Over Gibraltar Dispute

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    Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez warned Friday that a Sunday summit of European leaders to endorse a Brexit draft deal is likely to be called off if there is no agreement by then on the Gibraltar issue.

    "If there is no deal, it's obvious that what will happen is that the European Council will most likely not take place," Sanchez told a news conference in Havana as quoted by Reuters.

    “There are still not enough guarantees and Spain is, therefore, keeping its veto on the Brexit agreement,” Sanchez stressed.

    Madrid has vowed to veto the Brexit package at Sunday’s summit of EU leaders unless the declaration on the future EU-UK trade ties mentioned the need for Spain’s approval to engage Gibraltar, a British overseas territory it claims a right to.

    Spanish secretary of state for the European Union, Luis Marco Aguiriano, said earlier on Friday that Pedro Sanchez and UK’s Theresa May tried to work out their differences on the tiny peninsula on the tip of Spain in a Thursday night phone call, but their positions "remain far away."

    The EU 27 leaders are expected to endorse the draft Brexit deal, including the withdrawal agreement and the declaration on the future EU-UK relations, on Sunday.

    READ MORE: 'Capitulation': Britons Don't Trust Theresa May in Brexit Deal — UK Politician

    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.

    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.

    Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told the BBC broadcaster earlier on Friday that the territory had shown that it was willing to directly engage in talks with Spain, so it was not necessary to add a special article on this to the Brexit agreement.

    Related:

    EU, UK Agree to Mention Gibraltar in Brexit Paper on Future Ties – Diplomat
    Gibraltar Minister: If Brexit Talks on Gibraltar Re-open, Other Issues to Follow
    'We Do Not Need a Veto': Gibraltar Ready for Talks With Spain Over Brexit Deal
    UK Expecting EU-Wide Support for Brexit Deal Despite Gibraltar Impasse – Report
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