SPAIN and the UK have both lodged formal protests after a Royal Navy launch intercepted a Spanish patrol boat during a routine military exercise on Gibraltar’s eastern coast.
The UK government ‘strongly condemned’ the ‘unsafe manouvres’ of the P38 launch ‘Isla de Leon’ on October 3 which forced the Royal Navy’s HMS Cutlass to take action to intercept it.
The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office denied the Spanish Navy patrol boat was taking its‘right of innocent passage’
It added that it could have led to a potentially dangerous situation for boats in the area.
The HMS Cutlass then escorted the P38 patrol boat from the area as the military exercise continued.
The incident comes a day after Spain defended its rights to Gibraltar and its waters before the UN Fourth Committee in New York.
She denied Gibraltar’s right to self-determination and asked for talks with the UK over its sovereignty.
But a UK diplomat refuted the claims, endorsing the people of Gibraltar’s right to decide their own future under the 2006 constitution.
She also claimed that Gibraltar’s territorial waters ‘flow from sovereignty over the land’.
Spain claims that the Rock’s sovereignty is limited to its land and port area under the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht.
But a Spanish academic has reasoned that this was a Francoist policy that should be revised by current Spanish governments.
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