Spaniard won't visit Gibraltar till Spanish flag flies over Rock

Madrid, Mar 6 (EFE).- Spain's foreign minister said that he had never set foot in Gibraltar, the British Crown Colony at the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula, and he guaranteed that he never will do so "as long as there's no Spanish flag" flying over the territory.

Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo made these remarks at the presentation of the book by Spanish journalist Jose Maria Carrascal, "La batalla de Gibraltar."

The aim of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's administration in regard to Gibraltar is to "end the joke of earlier years" and undertake a "radically different" policy, the foreign minister said.

Spain wants to once again bring up the matter of sovereignty over the Rock, but - as Rajoy said before the U.N. General Assembly - the actors in those negotiations must be Madrid and London, and Britain cannot give Gibraltarian authorities the right to veto those talks.

As long as the situation does not change, Garcia-Margallo acknowledged, the cooperation must continue between Spain and Britain and between Gibraltar and the authorities in the Spanish zone adjacent to the Rock.

He criticized the tripartite Forum formula designed by the 2004-2011 Socialist government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, which gave a voice to Gibraltar on an equal footing with Madrid and London, as being "really perverse."

Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo decided last August to abrogate an accord that allowed Spanish fishing boats to operate in waters near the colony.

Spain refuses to recognize the Gibraltarian government's authority beyond the bounds set forth in the Treaty of Utrecht, the 1713 accord that is the basis for Britain's claim to sovereignty over the Rock.

The pact limits British maritime control to the port of Gibraltar, Madrid says.

Gibraltar is a territory of 5.5 square kilometers (2.1 square miles) at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. It has been held by Britain since 1704.