Just what has happened to the special relationship between Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and Tony Blair? First, there was the bust-up at the Seville summit over immigration, which put an end to the united European front which the two had been giving. And now Gibraltar. A pro-Spanish government newspaper yesterday reported that the invasion by British Royal Marines of a Spanish beach, after they mistook it for Gibraltar, was no mistake. The paper claimed that it was part of a ploy to stall the Gibraltar talks. How could elite Royal Marines get the wrong beach? the paper asks. Well, to answer that question just look at your history books amphibious operations are always fraught with dangers, a good example was D-Day. But that is beside the point the question which is relevant here is why does the Spanish government, because unnamed officials are mentioned in the newspaper report, want to bring this issue to the forefront when it was just a case of bad map-reading? The answer I feel, is that Spain feels let down by Britain over Gibraltar. As I have said in this space on numerous occasions, the Gibraltarians will never accept a deal with Spain, and as Britain has said that any agreement would have to be ratified by the people of the Rock, there is no chance of a deal ever being struck. I think Tony Blair and company have led Spain up the garden path and now we are going to see a definite freeze in relations.
I think Spain wanted to end its presidency of the European Union with a deal over Gibraltar. Tony Blair even hinted at the possibility. The politicians may strike a deal, but the Gibraltarians will never accept it. For this reason the Aznar cabinet feels that Blair is not the amigo of Spain they thought he was.
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