Gibraltar has long been a point of issue between Britain and Spain. About a decade?
CU: Barbed wire fence PULL FOCUS TO SHOW Gibraltarians behind barriers. (TWO SHOTS)
LV: Spanish relatives on their side of fence.
AERIAL VIEW: Gibraltar. (TWO SHOTS)
AERIAL VIEW: British naval ships moored in harbour. (FOUR SHOTS)
LV: Woman sweeping steps ZOOM BACK TO SHOW Union Jacks near steps.
GV STREET SCENE: Cars and pedestrians.
SV & CU: Interview with lawyer Joseph Trei. (SOF)
LV: Spanish flag ZOOM BACK TO SHOW Gibraltarians looking through large gates.
REPORTER: "This is the front line in the siege of Gibraltar. It's a cold war all but forgotten, one in which the Gibraltarians communicate with their families and friends just 50 yards away as best they can. For 12 years now the 30,000 inhabitants have survived the blockade imposed by Genera Franco to force the British surrender to the rock. And with the dictator now dead, and democracy reborn in Spain, there's growing optimism that the restrictions might soon be lifted. The British military presence emphasises Gibraltar's continuing importance to NATO. And since Spain now wants to join the Alliance, as well as the Common Market, further escalation of the dispute with Britain seems most unlikely. Indeed, Gibraltar's Chief Minister (the honourable Sir Joshua Hassan) has been told by the British Foreign Secretary, Dr. Owen, about Spain's new degree of sensitivity and understanding over the issue.
The attitude of the majority of Gibraltarians however is unchanged: "British we are and British we stay". But not everyone is opposed to a negotiated settlement with Spain. Lawyer Joseph Trei is one of these so-called doves.
TREI: "Gibraltar reconciled with Britain and Spain can hope to have a very, very happy economic and social and political existence within the realms of its autonomy because Spain will then take away the restrictions and Spain will have to make it see that gibraltar has in no way lost its ultimate reconciliation with Spanish historical claims".
REPORTER: "And while the restrictions do continue, there's likely to be very little support for such optimistic views".
Gibraltar is a British Crown Colony whose executive authority is a Governor. it achieved partial self-government in 1964, control over most internal matters in 1969, and joined the EEC with Britain in 1973 under the Treaty of Rome. The Spanish government lays claim to Gibraltar as part of its territory, but the United Kingdom maintains that the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 gave the UK sovereignty over Gibraltar forever. Spain has applied to the United Nations to have the tiny peninsula ceded to her. In the late 1960s, Spain closed the land frontier, imposed an airspace restriction affecting aircraft landing at Gibraltar, withdrew the Spanish labour force and cut off telephone and telegraphic communications with Spain. It also removed the Algeciras ferry, the only remaining means of direct access to Spain.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Gibraltar has long been a point of issue between Britain and Spain. About a decade ago Spain, under General Franco, closed the border between Spain and Gibraltar and put a squeeze on its inhabitants. But Spain without Franco is thawing. And part of this process could be an easing of relations between the two countries over Gibraltar. Christopher Morris of the NBC reports.