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Pedestrians, drivers and bikers cross the tarmac at Gibraltar International Airport as they leave Gibraltar at its border with Spain (rear), in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, historically claimed by Spain, June 27, 2016, after Britain voted to leave the European Union in the EU Brexit referendum. REUTERS/Jon Nazca(reuters_tickers)
MADRID (Reuters) - Spain sees just a slim chance of joint sovereignty over Gibraltar if Britain opposes it, its foreign minister said in an interview with the leading Spanish newspaper El Pais.
"I think you have to be realistic, if the United Kingdom does not want to negotiate it will be difficult to carry it forward," Alfonso Dasits, said in his first interview with a Spanish newspaper since he was appointed minister in November.
Spain, which reappointed Mariano Rajoy as its new conservative prime minister at the end of October, is seeking to jointly govern Gibraltar with the UK following the British vote to leave the European Union.
Dastis said, however, that if Gibraltar wanted to have a relationship with the EU, "it would have to be consulted with us. That will require a bilateral agreement between Spain and the United Kingdom."
The peninsula on Spain's south coast, a British territory since 1713 known to its 30,000 residents as "the Rock", is a major point of contention in Anglo-Spanish relations. Spain has long claimed sovereignty over the enclave.
(Reporting By Jesús Aguado; Editing by Stephen Powell)