UK defence secretary Liam Fox has fired a shot across Spain’s bow by warning that incursions into Gib waters are ‘not acceptable’.
Fox made the comments during a visit to the Rock, in which he stated that such distractions were not needed during the ongoing Libya crisis.
It follows Foreign Secretary William Hague’s pledge to appeal against an EU ruling that gives Spain more rights over Gib waters.
The two countries have been in conflict over the area for two years since the European Commission agreed the area could be listed as a Spanish conservation zone (SCI).
The ‘Estrecho Oriental’ area is partly within British Gibraltar Territorial Waters and an existing UK SCI, the Southern Waters of Gibraltar.
While the UK’s legal case failed in May, Hague has confirmed he will appeal.
“The government is clear that Spain cannot enforce the management or monitoring of the specific area in question,” he said.