The skipper of the fishing boat involved in last week's dispute. SUR
Gibraltar confident Spain's complaint to London will not affect post-Brexit talks

Gibraltar confident Spain's complaint to London will not affect post-Brexit talks

Spanish foreign minister has told the UK Embassy in Madrid he strongly objects to three recent incidents in the disputed waters off the Rock

SUR in English


Friday, 1 September 2023, 13:44


The Gibraltar government has said it is confident that recent incidents in waters off the Rock, which have led to a formal complaint by Spain to the UK, will not affect the negotiation of the post-Brexit agreement between the European Union and Britain.

Spain's acting foreign minister, José Manuel Albares, is reported to have told the British Embassy in Madrid this week of his "strong objection" to "three serious incidents" over the summer.

The objection includes: an oil spill during refuelling of a ship -known as bunkering - off the Rock; Spain's claim that one of its Customs boat's work was hampered by UK vessels; and the stopping of a Spanish fisherman by Gibraltar authorities in waters disputed between the UK and Spain.

Gibraltar said that the waters where the incidents took place are "British and not Spanish sovereignty" but Spain disagrees.

Gibraltar added, "Unnecessary incidents on the water should be avoided, as they create risk for the crews of the vessels involved.

"Matters relating to illegal fishing have long been a flash point as Gibraltar has a higher environmental protection standard than Spain when it comes to netting and raking."

The statement said that Gibraltar's refuelling (bunkering) rules are recognised as being of "the highest international standard".

"His Majesty's Government of Gibraltar remains committed to a successful outcome for all sides to the UK/EU Treaty negotiations for the free mobility of persons between Gibraltar and the EU and the consequent creation of an area of shared prosperity in the area around Gibraltar", it concluded.

The talks are awaiting a new government to be appointed in Spain in order to continue.

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