UK summons Spanish envoy in Gibraltar dispute

UK summons Spanish envoy in Gibraltar dispute

Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:44AM GMT

Britain has summoned the Spanish ambassador to London to protest Madrid’s naval activity in the waters of the disputed British-held territory of Gibraltar.

The British Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that it had summoned Federico Trillo, the Spanish envoy to the UK, to protest what it called “provocative” activity by the Spanish navy near the disputed territory.

It is the fifth time that Trillo has been summoned by Britain over Gibraltar since Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was elected in late 2011.

Britain’s Minister for Europe David Lidington said a Spanish navy vessel attempted to divert two commercial ships heading to and from the Port of Gibraltar on Wednesday by falsely claiming they were in Spanish waters.

Lidington said he was “extremely concerned” by the actions of the Spanish ship, saying “the vessels were in international waters off Gibraltar, and the actions of the Spanish Navy vessel constitute a breach of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

The incident comes amid a series of diplomatic rows between London and Madrid over the small peninsula off the southern coast of Spain. Tensions between the two countries rose in mid-July last year after authorities in Gibraltar dumped 70 blocks of concrete in waters close to the territory’s coast, aimed at creating an artificial reef.

Gibraltar is one of the British Overseas Territories, which is on the United Nations’ list of areas waiting decolonization. The British territory was seized from Spain in 1713 and remains a bone of contention between the two European countries.

Leave a Reply