Letter: Reasons Ceuta Stays Spanish

By Michael Brupal de Melgarejo | The Independent (London, England), June 16, 1997 | Go to article overview
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Letter: Reasons Ceuta Stays Spanish


Michael Brupal de Melgarejo, The Independent (London, England)


Reasons Ceuta

stays Spanish

Sir: As an expatriate Gibraltarian I would like to answer John Evans' question (Letters, 12 June) - why does Spain believe the retrocession of Gibraltar will be achieved before the return of Ceuta and Melilla to Morocco? The simple answer is that it suits the Moroccan Government for Spain to retain sovereignty over these two enclaves. Morocco raised the decolonisation of Ceuta and Melilla at the UN Committee of 24 in January 1975 but since then has never forcibly pursued its claim. In the event of Islamic fundamentalism from Algeria encroaching into Morocco, King Hassan II regards the two enclaves as being an insurance policy to ensure immediate military support from the European Union. For the record, Ceuta has a population of 67,000 and was captured by Spain in 1580. Melilla has a population of 57,000 and has been a Spanish territory since 1497. Both enclaves are deemed to be integrated into Spain and to be as Spanish as any town in mainland Spain. The British government of whatever political persuasion has steadfastly refused to allow Gibraltar to be integrated into the Mother Country.

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