November 20, 2018 / 9:55 AM / 24 days ago

UPDATE 1-Spain to vote against Brexit accord if text on Gibraltar not changed - PM

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MADRID, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Spain will vote against the European Union’s draft Brexit agreement if the included text on the disputed British territory of Gibraltar is not changed, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Tuesday.

“As of today, if there are no changes with respect to Gibraltar, Spain will vote no to the agreement on Brexit,” Sanchez said during an Economist conference in Madrid.

A small peninsula on Spain’s southern coast and a British territory since 1713, Gibraltar is a major point of contention in Anglo-Spanish relations. Spain has long claimed sovereignty over it.

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said on Monday that Madrid wanted the deal on Britain’s exit to clarify that talks on future ties between London and the bloc will not apply to Gibraltar.

Gibraltar is due to leave the European Union along with the United Kingdom in March, although 96 percent of its population voted in the 2016 referendum to remain in the bloc.

Spain last week welcomed the inclusion of a protocol on Gibraltar in the draft Brexit agreement but Borrell said on Monday that the document introduced “a certain confusion” on the issue. (Reporting by Belen Carreno; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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