The United Kingdom and the European Union have almost agreed on a Brexit deal with only one main obstacle left: the future of Gibraltar.
“The British people want Brexit to be settled. They want a good deal that sets us on a course for a brighter future,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday.
“The deal that will enable us to do this is now within our grasp. In these crucial 72 hours ahead, I will do everything possible to deliver it for the British people,” she said.
Gibraltar is the one main obstacle which remains to be settled.
May made efforts to settle the issue with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
The two talked on phone for half-an-hour on Thursday.
The British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar is strategic enclave located on Spain’s south coast and it has voiced interest in gaining control of Gibraltar.
Madrid and London have been engaged in a sovereignty dispute over the territory for centuries.
Gibraltar has been under British rule for three centuries.
Spain; however, has threatened to veto the Brexit deal if its interest in the region were not taken into consideration.
“After my conversation with Theresa May, our positions remain far away. My government will always defend the interests of Spain. If there are no changes, we will veto Brexit,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted on Thursday night.
Eu officials said Spain’s interests must be settled before EU leaders meet on Sunday in order to rubber-stamp the pact.
EU diplomats said they hoped Spain could accept a statement, similar to one made before the withdrawal negotiations, that nothing in a future EU-UK treaty would apply to Gibraltar unless Madrid consented to that after bilateral talks with London.
May is due to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker again on the eve of the summit, at 6 pm (1700 GMT) on Saturday – in principle to agree that the absolutely final text is ready for EU leaders to sign.