GIBRALTAR’S British status should be backed by Congress, according to the wishes of senior US politicians.
The resolution was laid down by the House of Representatives, led by North Carolina Republican George Holding, one of seven leading Congressmen in a bi-partisan group.
The resolution cites the importance of the Rock’s strategic position to US and British military interests which, defence analysts say, could be jeopardised if Gibraltar came under Spanish control.
“The United States has relied on Gibraltar’s military facilities numerous times, including America’s first overseas military intervention in 1801 against the Barbary States, World War II, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization intervention in 2011 in Libya,” states the resolution.
“During World War II, General Dwight Eisenhower used Gibraltar as his headquarters to plan the liberation of North Africa stating: ‘Without it the vital air cover would not have been quickly established on the North African fields.’
“The security situation in North Africa and the Middle East continues to underscore the need for the United States to maintain secure access to Gibraltar’s military facilities.”
The resolution also acknowledges Gibraltar’s status under the 1713 Treat of Utrecht, and the two polls in 1967 and 2002, when Gibraltarians chose to keep the Union Flag.
Speaking to the Sunday Express last night former First Sea Lord, Admiral Lord West, said: “Strategically Gibraltar is very important. The Spaniards have been very difficult in the way they have dealt with this issue, despite the Treaty of Utrecht which states it is British in perpetuity. Recently they’ve been causing a lot of trouble. A British warship that stops at a Spanish port cannot then go on to Gibraltar. The Americans have always been very keen to use it. It would help everybody if Spain just left Gibraltar alone.”
The chief minister, Fabian Picardo, affirmed his delight at the resolution. A positive turn in support of Gibraltar from America, despite persistent pushing to Washington DC by the Spanish government.