LONDON, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Britain and Spain have agreed to end a dispute over Gibraltar, laying ground for the European Union (EU) to ratify some key international conventions, Britain said Tuesday.
The two conventions, one on child protection and the other on aviation industry, have been waiting for years for ratification by the EU. Dispute between London and Madrid over how to administer the treaties in Gibraltar, a British colony at the foot of Spain.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Britain has concluded a set of arrangements with Spain, which will allow the EU to move ahead and ratify the 1996 Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and the 2001 Cape Town Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment.
Miliband said Britain and Spain had compromised on a so-called "post-boxing" system under which communications between Spain and Gibraltar involving the treaties will go through London, erasing Spain's concern that the ratification would recognize Gibraltar's competence in foreign policy.
The 1996 Hague Convention addresses a wide range of international child protection issues including parental disputes over custody. The Cape Town Convention makes it easier for aircraft leasing companies to get their planes back if operators default on payment.
Gibraltar, a previous Spanish territory, became a British colony in the early 18th century. Since then Spain has been fighting to regain the sovereignty of the strategically important region.