Spain summons UK envoy over Gibraltar boat

2016-07-11 21:06
FILE: British frigate HMS Westminster docked in Gibraltar. (File, AFP)

FILE: British frigate HMS Westminster docked in Gibraltar. (File, AFP)

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Madrid - Spain on Monday summoned Britain's ambassador following what it said were "reckless" moves by a Gibraltar police patrol boat, the latest in a long line of diplomatic spats over the disputed territory.

The foreign ministry said a Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP) patrol boat "went on a collision course" on Friday with a Spanish police boat heading to a beach in La Linea, a Spanish town bordering Gibraltar.

"The RGP patrol boat, which was sailing at a high speed, diverted just a few metres from the Spanish boat causing a big wave that unsettled the Spanish police vessel," it said in a statement.

"Its irresponsible and reckless manoeuvre created a significant, clear and sudden risk for the safety of both official boats and their crew."

Spain's secretary of state for foreign affairs, Ignacio Ybanez, asked Britain's ambassador to ensure Britain takes "appropriate measures so these types of behaviours are not repeated".

The foreign ministry said the incident happened about two kilometres to the east of Gibraltar, which is strategically located on the southernmost tip of the Iberian peninsula at the mouth of the Mediterranean.

Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in perpetuity in 1713 but has long argued that it should be returned to Spanish sovereignty, and the territory remains a source of diplomatic tensions.

In one particularly belligerent row over the disputed waters around Gibraltar, Spanish authorities upped border checks in 2013, creating hours-long logjams and forcing the European Commission to wade in and ease the crisis.

Read more on:    spain  |  gibraltar  |  uk

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