Congressmen support Gibraltar’s right to self-determination.
Article credit to the Gibraltar Chronicle:
Thirty six Members of Congress have supported a resolution that backs Gibraltar’s right to self-determination in the US House of Representatives, the Deputy Chief Minister said.
This was announced at a farewell dinner held at the Rock Hotel on Wednesday evening for the five visiting Republican Congressmen who were on a two-day visit in Gibraltar. Congressman George Holding, the North Carolina’s 2nd District representative, tabled the resolution three times in the past, but due to strict deadlines this expired with the end of each session of Congress. Resolution 199 acknowledges the support Gibraltar has given to the United States over the years and also recognises that the people of Gibraltar should decide their own future as a UK Overseas Territory.
Dr Garcia thanked Mr Holding and the other visiting Congressmen, Ken Calvert, Kenny Marchant, Paul Cook and David Rouzer, for signing up to the resolution. But Dr Garcia said the US and Gibraltar need to now “face the challenges and threats of an uncertain future”.
“There are rising security challenges in the Mediterranean region,” Dr Garcia said. “They have wide implications and serious consequences. There can be no doubt that this region and indeed the world is safe with Gibraltar in British hands.”
Dr Garcia highlighted new challenges of security, climate and human migration over the coming years, but added that Brexit a “significant political challenge” on the immediate horizon. However, he is confident that Gibraltar’s work with the United Kingdom will “assist in underpinning Gibraltar’s future economic success”.
“One overriding message prevails,” Dr Garcia told the guests at the Rock Hotel, describing the relationship between Gibraltar and the United States after the UK leaves the European Union. “We are both strong and versatile. We are keen to build on our existing relationships and to foster new ones. And we are open for business. This is an important consideration in any post-Brexit UK-US trade deal.”
In his reply, Mr Holding highlighted the similarities between Americans and Gibraltarians as a people. He said this can be seen in their “can do spirit” in the face of adversity, whether it is from entrepreneurism, respect for personal freedoms, democratic process and by obeying the rules. The Iranian supertanker Grace 1 was detained in Gibraltar waters by the Royal Gibraltar Police and the British Military on suspicion of carrying crude oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions. Mr Holding said this is “indicative” of not following the rules, but he added: “Americans and Gibraltarians, even the British, follow the rules and that is something to be proud of.”