Gibraltar Government would welcome opening of Spanish consulate

The Gibraltar Government would welcome the opening of a Spanish consulate in Gibraltar - but it draws a distinction between the opening of a consulate, which is a diplomatic mission and that of the Instituto
Cervantes, which is a culture-based organisation.

The Spanish Government closed its consulate in Gibraltar in the mid-1950s as part of a protest to a visit by the British Royal Family, including Queen Elizabeth.

It has been refusing to re-open a consulate, but it has agreed to open an Instituto Cervantes before the end of the year.

In a statement, the Gibraltar Government notes the report in a Spanish newspaper that Spain will appoint a diplomat to head the Instituto Cervantes in Gibraltar. This is not of itself unusual for the Instituto Cervantes around the world.

The Government also notes that, according to the report the Spanish Government is seeking a candidate that has been a cultural attach?, is an expert on the Gibraltar question and has ?very good contacts with the UK Foreign Office?.

The Gibraltar Government does not know whether these reports are true, but nevertheless would comment as follow if they were.
"The Instituto Cervantes is a Cultural institution and not a diplomatic mission.The Instituto Cervantes that establishes in Gibraltar will not be a branch of the Instituto Cervantes in the UK. Accordingly, to the extent that ?very good contacts? with a Government are thought to be helpful, the relevant Government is the Government of Gibraltar and not the UK Foreign Office. Contacts, good or bad, between an Instituto Cervantes established in Gibraltar, and the UK Foreign Office are irrelevant since such contacts would be well outside the scope of the Instituto?s legitimate role and activities in Gibraltar.

"The Gibraltar Government which welcomes the establishment of the Instituto Cervantes in Gibraltar would, of course, also welcome the re-establishment by Spain in Gibraltar of a diplomatic presence through the usual means, namely a Consulate."