The tripartite forum of dialogue: Is this the solution to the ‘problem’ of Gibraltar?
Mediterranean Politics, 14 (1).
Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13629390902747475
Following the abortive attempt by Britain and Spain to negotiate the joint sovereignty of Gibraltar in 2001–02, the incoming Spanish Government in 2004 proposed the
establishment of a Forum of Dialogue, in which for the first time Gibraltar would take part as an independent third party. This Forum was designed to achieve cooperation across a number of issues, including the use of the airport, frontier traffic flows, pensions for former Spanish
workers in Gibraltar and telecommunications, and by September 2006 proposed solutions were reached on all of them. The paper explores the Forum process and its achievements, but concludes that, given the fundamental differences in the ultimate objectives of the Forum
participants and in particular Spain’s sensitivity to Gibraltar’s status, the agreements may only prove to be a means of managing the Gibraltar ‘problem’ rather than resolving it. Finally, the article considers whether the Forum model offers any lessons for other disputes in the region where sovereignty is contested.
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