9 Aug, 2013 @ 12:31
1 min read

Royal Navy warships head to Gibraltar


THE Royal Navy will send three vessels to Gibraltar on Monday as tensions continue to rise.

Ten ships including an aircraft carrier, two frigates and support ships, will be heading from the UK on an annual exercise, and three of them will dock for three days in Gibraltar.

The vessels will practice a range of operations, including ‘deterring adversaries’- which are likely to put a further strain on diplomatic relations.

Ministry of Defence officials have claimed that the mission, called Cougar ’13, has been planned for a long time and it is just a coincidence.

However, senior government sources have said that it is convenient as it will reassure the people of Gibraltar that the UK is on their side.


  1. Coincidence or not, but today, the frontier has flowed fluently.
    With the atmosphere at the moment, the Foreign Office, could have avoided the visit, which apparently will be over a month, but it hasn’t. Maybe therein lies the message.

    In the meantime, Rajoy who has just appeared on TV after having gone to the first of the “usual” two meetings with the King who is on holiday in the Balearic Islands, was overjoyed that nobody was asking him about the Barcenas Case or the irregularities. In fact he was evidently beaming.

    Every body seemingly Happy! Until the end of the holidays. Then they will be back to the business of telling the citizens that they want to cut down their wages a further 10%, that they want to convert full time jobs into part time ones (with all that that entails) etc. etc. etc.

  2. They sank themselves in the brown stuff up to their necks and now they are trying hard to extract themselves with as much national pride as possible. Another public relations blunder by the present PP government. However, they have managed, for a short while, at least, to distract the public’s attention from far more pressing matters. Note that of all the things he could have talked about he concentrated on Gibraltar.
    By the way, absolute normality at the border. In fact, unbelievably fluid for a Friday.

  3. Spoke too soon. Two hours to get into Spain. Last parting shot. Will probably get queues when the navy is in and that’s about it. I ask myself, apart from the suffering of thousands including the most vulnerable and the increase of animosity and tension, what has been achieved?
    So sorry to see such imbeciles in charge of what is after all a beautiful country.

  4. Watch the next chapter and that is that after failed fishing negotiations Spain will threaten to enforce strictly the Utrecht Treaty which after all is the corner stone which legitimises the occupation of the Rock and one of the clauses I’m afraid is that there is not to be a land frontier. That is the trump card Spain has.Franco used this in 1969 when he got nowhere in negotiations following a UN resolution in favour of decolnisation and it would have continued indefinitely till it became a stumbling block for Spain’s entry into the EU. That could be a new stalemate, or it could focus the minds on resolving the dispute once and for all.

  5. Ref Carl
    Although the Treaty of Utrecht remains a cornerstone as regards Gibraltar many of the conditions set are archaic and cannot legally be strictly enforced. e.g. No Moors or Jews are to be allowed to live on the Rock.
    Spain signed up to all the EU conventions when she joined and this includes the freedom of movement between member states.
    She also signed up to the Cordoba agreement involving UK, Gibraltar and Spain, an agreement based on mutual cooperation which has allowed recent development and progress. An agreement that the present PP government now wants to do away with.
    In the modern world you cannot decolonise simply by handing over a territory without taking into account the wishes of the people who live there. In fact, Gibraltar is practically self governing and does not consider itself a colony and as such does not need to be decolonised.

  6. I. You cannot coerce people into accepting a solution they do not want. The last British politician to have tried to broker a deal with the Spanish behind the Gibraltarians’ back was that weasel Peter Hain. When news broke of his intentions the bright spark was almost lynched in Gib and his proposals immediately rejected.
    The Gibraltar issue is a dispute only because Spain chooses to make it one.

  7. Ref Iestyn Robert, El Fifi. Whilst agree in principle with many of your comments History weighs heavily on this one and you cannot brush it aside like some people do,that equals another 300 years of dispute. I am not a Gibraltarian but I am the closest you can get without being born in Gibraltar.
    Those 300 years of occupation have been mantained thanks to the Royal Navy. The UK is a fast changing country rapidly becoming very multicultural in 20 years time it is estimated that white Anglo-Saxon baby borns will be in a minority which means that in 50 years time traditional support up to now taken for granted maybe hard to find even in the Conservative party. I entirely agree that you cannot use coercion as a policy tool but that is exactly what Britain has had to use to retain ownership of the Rock for 300 years so you cannot support it for one side and decry for the other that is called hypocrisy. I sympathise entirely with the Gibraltarian people who have to deal with a the facto situation which is none of their making but I also sympathise with the Spanish position of having a little limb amputated from their homeland. Should the UK choose to leave the EU after the 2017 referendum which is a clear possibility it would take Gib with them and Spain would not be obliged to fulfill its obligations of free movement of people and goods. Iestyn I am fully aware of the UN Charter and also of UN resolution 2353 (XXII) Gibraltar. You cannot cherry pick which bits of the UN legislation/resolutions suits your argument and which ones you rather turn a blind eye to that again is called hypocrisy. I’m not a betting man but the odds of Gibraltar’s Status changing in this century must have shortened considerably from those in the last 3. Best wishes to all.

  8. Worst case scenario: (Lets be pragmatic for a minute)
    The question for the Gibraltarians and for the Spanish is are you prepared to live for the indefinite future without a land frontier with Spain? if the answer from Gibraltar is yes then no Status change is required if the answer is no then you have so seek the best settlement you can negotiate that provides Sovereignity concessions to Spain.
    From the point of view of Spain if they cannot leave without a landfrontier with Gibraltar then they have no negotiating hand to play. On the other hand if the answer is yes they can leave with no landfrontier with Gibraltar then they can wait it out for what will no doubt be a vociferous rejection from Gibraltar. I would summit that there should be a referendum in both Gib and Spain to legitimise the option taken. I would be pleased to hear from Gibraltarians on the above.

  9. Carl, a question. How would the ordinary Spaniard’s life change if Gibraltar became Spanish? On the other hand, the lives of every single Gibraltarian would change dramatically. For over three hundred years Gibraltarians have struggled, developed and matured as a people. We are used to living in a certain way and we like it just like that. Gibraltar is a microcosm of the USA without the violence sometimes associated with that country. We pride ourselves in being tolerant and industrious with an appetite for enjoying ourselves.
    If we had accepted the joint sovereignty agreement where would we be now? A present PP government might have decided that joint sovereignty was not enough. Whose protection would we have had from a government who is at present trying to destroy the Cordoba agreement signed by Spain that is based on cooperation.
    All EU countries have members of their society who are not happy or disenchanted with the union. Many Germans do not like having to financially support countries such as Spain. Many Spaniards are not happy being told by the German chancellor what measures Spain has to take. Same goes for the UK. The fact is none of these countries can afford to leave the union. Sorry, the idea that in the UK leaving the EU it will be easier for Spain to recover Gibraltar is just not going to happen.

  10. Why cant Gibralter declare itself an independant nation & perhaps offer its ports for the exclusive use of UN & NATO navies. Become a self-governing country – it already has its own leaders – so would it not end this ridiculous situation once & for all if neither Spain or the UK had control & perhaps they could even eventually join the EU > meaning no border controls whatsoever & everyone will be happy (apart from politicians who may have to find a different ploy to detract from their own fraudulent activities)……

  11. El Fifi, don’t you get the distinct impression that some contributors are picking Gibraltarian’s brains? You get the same questions by seemingly “different” contributors put in different ways, and all leading to the same thing. Joint sovereignty and Osmosis.

    Carl, let me put it to you this way. Spain will disintegrate into a myriad of self governed regions before Gibraltar will even think of giving in to any bullying. GT Britain will never let go of its base in the ever important strategic point it is in. Plus it is in the best hands possible. It does not cost them a penny, and the area we are in will always be a conflict zone. There is the beginning of a cold war starting again, both shores of the passage of the straits of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean cannot be held by one country alone, Spain. UK may make soothing noises to Spain, and they will always use Gibraltarians as a front for not letting go of Gibraltar, but don’t be fooled by that. We, dear Carl, are quite happy to serve our Mother Country as that front, we always have and we always will. In times of war and in times of peace. No matter how many permutations you come up with. Gibraltar is British, and so are its inhabitants. Comprendes amigo?

  12. Ray
    Pie in the sky I’m afraid.
    Inthename ,
    I have always and will always enjoy a debate, especially when you can inform and educate people along the way. I hope some readers now have a better understanding of the types of problems we face and the kind of people we are. I definitely don’t want to overwhelm this site but at the same time I cannot just sit and read without making a comment.

  13. @Carl, the only big of history that weighs is the fact that 300 years ago Spain gave Gibraltar away. The claim is nothing more than that, a claim. As for selective application of UN Resolutions, how does Resolution 2353 or any other UN SC or GA resolution clearly limit the right to self determination for the Gibraltarians. Where is there a binding resolution which states that Gibraltar is or should be Spanish territory?

  14. Iestyn Spain did not give it away you make it sound as if it was a present. The Rock was taken by force by an Anglo-Dutch fleet and subject to military exchanges in the interim prior to the treaty which was negotiated by the French and the English who refused to vacate the enclave the teaty was presented to the Spanish as a fait acompli they were not involved in the negotiations. Hardly a solid foundation. It was imposed on them . I am quite sympathetic to the Gibraltar position but when I hear fanciful accounts of History you loose credibiliy in my eyes.
    The UN ins and outs is best left to the Lawyers I think it is quite a complex area which requires specialist knowledge which neither you or I possess.

  15. @El Fifi, So do I, don’t get me wrong. I think I may have extended The Olive Press’s good will myself many a time in the past for which I am grateful. It is just, that coming from some quarters, no amount of well or not so well presented arguments seem to convince them because in their mind Gibraltar should be returned to Spain regardless. I have come across this article which might shine another beacon of light onto Gibraltar’s arguments, only this time not coming from a Gibraltarian.

    All in a nutshell! Article by George Morrell in the Conservative Companion entitled “Gibraltar-earth-air-water-and Spanish Fire, with visuals.


  16. @ Elingles

    Those figures would be for the MOD’s own expenses in their Base, and not for Gibraltar Government’s coffers.

    In contrast, apart from the day to day expenses of the USA base in Rota, the USA has to pay Spain a lease for the privilege, something that UK does not have to do as regards its own base in Gibraltar. That is the difference.

  17. Continued… In any case the UN has a very poor record of implementation of its Charter and Resolutions. All the big players flout the bits they don’t like at will (read US Israel UK etc) there is a very sad case, shameful in fact, with the inhabitants of Diego Garcia Islands which were badly let down by the UK government no self-determination there but forced deportation. Power politics trumps the little people everytime. I thought that a previous post by Mr Fifi made a very good case for the Gib people, what is clear is that without the goodwill of the Spanish life could get very uncomfortable in Gibraltar so my advice for what is worth is be nice to your neighbour and I don’t mean grovel, stop the vilification campaign of everything from Spain and Spanish and tell it how it is without misinformation. That after all is the British way of doing things and I do appreciate that it requires a substantial change of stance after 300 years of feeling besieged. Good luck to you all

  18. @elingles

    You might like to read on the “similarity” of feelings or “resentment” there seems to exist re the “privileges” inside the base as compared to the town itself. Where those Spaniards that work in the base will be grateful for a steady job and income in a country starved of jobs, some in Govt seem to want to bake their cake and eat it calling it a fiscal paradise. In spanish of course, but “translate” is always an option.


  19. I am from vancouver,canada and i wanted to say that Britism Imperialism should be condemned by everyone.The people of Spain,Northern Ireland and Argentina have had enough of unwanted british influence in their countries.Gibraltar belongs to Spain.All people in the world should support Spain in this regard.
    Over the years many countries have got their independence from England.They are free from the British Tyrany.Hope fully the remaining countries will be free soon.The USA was the first country to get its independence from england.Since then many countries did the same.

  20. Stan:

    I agree with you, Gibraltar is an anachronism, a colony to be decolonized sooner, in acordance with the United Nations.

    The idea of ??resolving a diplomatic conflict sending warships is a serious error that indicates a poor connection to reality.

    We are not in the time of the Opium War!

  21. If, as so many assert, Gib. is part of Britain and all inhabitants are British, how would it be apt for Britain to pay anything to have a base there? The postulation that Britain “saves” money by having a free base there, doesn’t stand up. To turn the old saying on it’s head, “no representation without taxation”. Pay something toward your U.K. support Gib. Never mind saying you don’t “cost” anything, you certainly don’t pay anything, though you “cost” the U.K. plenty, in the form of gambling revenues alone.
    Still agree that self-determination is all, but pay up and play the game!

  22. Stan Squires and Anselmo
    1.It is easy to dehumanise the issue of Gibraltar by concentrating on a little piece of land and ignoring the fact 30,000 people live there.
    2.Over three centuries we have arrived on the Rock from all corners of the world, including Canada, out of our own free- will not forced.
    3. We have chosen by an overwhelming majority, unlike Quebec, to remain British. Yes, some of us do like our heritage and the British way of life. There is no tyranny and making us join another country against our free- will will certainly not make us free.
    4. Tell me, Stan Squires, why doesn’t Canada integrate with the USA? After all, you could become part of the most powerful country in the world. Why doesn’t Canada free its French speaking area and allow them to live the way they want to live?
    Unless you get your facts right and experience what it’s like to live next door to a country that, among other things, subjects innocent civilians to 7 hour queues in searing heat quite frankly you don’t know what you are talking about. Talk about freedom!

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