Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar fired a another warning shot at Gibraltar on Thursday, saying Spain would adopt measures if the British colony moved toward greater self-rule. Spain lays a claim to the colony of 5.8 square km (2.2 square miles) on its southern coast. The territory, best known for the towering Rock of Gibraltar, was ceded to Britain in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht and has been a thorn in bilateral relations ever since. Any alteration in the status of Gibraltar is a serious breach of the Treaty of Utrecht, and Spain would consider it to be a very serious act, Aznar told La Cope radio. We would adopt measures based on what a transgression and violation of the treaty would mean, he added. He did not elaborate. Gibraltar's 30'000 English-speaking people are over whelmingly opposed to joining Spain, but the Treaty of Utrecht gives Spain the right to reclaim sovereignty over The Rock should it be relinquished by Britain. Aznar's comments follow those of Foreign Minister Josep Pique on Wednesday when he warned that greater self-determination for Britain's last colony in Europe would only generate more confrontation with Madrid.
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