21 Oct, 2010 @ 13:03
1 min read

Rumble on the Rock

By Wendy Williams

GIBRALTAR has called on the British navy to help defend its borders against Spain.

The Rock’s first minister asked the military to step in after a series of ‘incursions’ into what it claims is not Spanish water.

While the British government has so far ignored the pleas, a spokesman confirmed that the Royal Navy was “already present” and had a “well defined role in Gibraltar”.

Tensions have mounted after a string of run-ins between police in Spain and Gibraltar and after Spain’s foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos declared that “there are no Gibraltar waters”.

It also comes after border town of La Linea threatened to introduce a controversial toll for all visitors to the enclave.

In a televised address to Rock residents, leader Peter Caruana said he had asked foreign secretary William Hague to take ‘effective action.’

He added: ‘This should include the systematic deployment and intervention of the Royal Navy in support and protection of the Gibraltar police as they carry out their duties.’

The hard-hitting message came a day after Gibraltar unexpectedly pulled out of tripartite talks with the UK and Spain over the Rock’s future.

The British colony cited ‘technical reasons’ for its decision to postpone meetings due to take place this week.

Caruana added: “If Mr Mo-atinos is convinced that under international law the waters around Gibraltar are not British, then you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by bringing this matter to the International Court of Justice.”

In particular, he cited the incident last month in which the Guardia Civil entered the territorial waters and fought with officers of the Royal Gibraltar Police, over a suspected Spanish smuggler they had detained.

He said: “It is difficult to imagine a more serious incident in the context both of challenge to sovereignty and jurisdiction.”

The British enclave – ceded to Britain by Spain in 1713 under the Treaty of Utrecht – has long been a source of controversy with Madrid arguing it should be returned to Spanish sovereignty.

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

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  1. Carlos,
    Gibraltar has been part of the UK for longer than it was part of Spain.
    The people of Gibraltar do not want to be part of Spain in much the same way as the people of Portugal wish to remain portugese.
    In 1713 the spanish gave up any claim of sovereignty.
    When the spanish give up claims to Perejil Island, Ceuta, Melilla and the Plazas de Soberanía islets and the people of Gibraltar vote to be part of Spain then that should be allowed to happen. Untill then we can only hope the voters of Spain will tire of this ceaseless politicking.

  2. I was back in Gibraltar recently, (first time in a couple of years), and the place looked Grubby, untidy and Tired. It reminded me of Croydon on a sunny Day For some reason! I suppose being neighbours with La Linea could be an excuse to let standards slip, but Gib really needs the Painters and Decorators, in (Gardeners and Cleaners too), and get the place looking tip top again!

  3. I fully sympathise with a modern Spain trying to come to terms with a ‘foreign’ enclave on its mainland. But the present situation is a disgrace, Spain and UK are allies, if we cannot come to compromise arrangements, we will be the laughing stock of the world.
    UK nationals should never be involved in scuffles with the Spanish, let the Spanish make their occasional incursions into Gibraltarian waters, but make representations afterwards. Much as one would gently reprimand a neighbour following his retrieval, without permission, of a ball kicked over the fence by a child.
    Gibralter must protect itself against foreign invaders and must have sovereignty over its waters, for the benefit of not just the UK but all of Europe. But Spain should hardly be classed as foreign, we live in a United Europe, and Spain should have special access arrangements. Maybe that is what the Tripartite talks are about.
    But at the end of the day, Gibralter is just a Rock, with a major, friendly nuclear power in possession, ready to help defend Spain and Europe if necessary.
    The last thing it needs is endemic corruption imported from mainland Spain.

  4. I don’t know why the Spanish bother..they run a basically bankrupt country that lives off EC grants…Gib is British, I only wish the Foreign Office had a bit of back bone and protected the place. The sooner Gib elects an MP to the UK parliament the better

  5. Guirizano, dont be Rediculus, thats like asking if we should sympathise with the US about that Enclave of Canada/Mexico on their continent.

    ANTHONY I agree, why would anybody want this grubby little rock

    GRESHAM lets hope the shells bounce back and then Gib might be improved.

    As for all you other Spain bashers, what the hell are you doing in this country. go back to the hell hole that you came from

  6. @Thomas, so why should the Spanish be due any sympathy bcs of Gibraltar but not because of Portugal (or Andorra)? What’s the difference? The only ridiculous thing is the Spanish attitude!

  7. The Brits still hang onto Gib because they have lost their empire and all they have left is Gib. As long as they hold it they can still claim to have an empire. How pathetic. They should just go back to their little island , quit complaining about Spain. After all it is the the Brits that have moved to Spain by the tens of thousands, Why? Because their own country was so great? I doubt that, but they try to make the coast of Spain British, it isn’t and if they all left no one would miss them. They come here for medical holidays because the medical system is so great in Britain. Maybe all that British pride is nothing more than coverup for their major shortcomings.

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