Press release

FCO summons Spanish Ambassador following Gibraltar incursion

The FCO summoned the Spanish Ambassador to the UK to underline serious concern at the incursion into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Speaking after the summoning of His Excellency Federico Trillo, the Minister for Europe, the Rt Hon David Lidington MP, said:

I am extremely concerned to hear of another incursion into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters on 1 April by a Spanish state research vessel, which sought to undertake survey activity. Not only were the actions of the survey vessel unlawful, but it was accompanied by a Spanish Guardia Civil vessel whose dangerous manoeuvring presented a significant safety concern on the waters.

According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the waters around Gibraltar are indisputably British territorial waters, under United Kingdom sovereignty, in which only the United Kingdom has the right to exercise jurisdiction.

Her Majesty’s Government takes a grave view of any attempt by Spain to exert authority or control within British Gibraltar Territorial Waters and considers such incursions as a violation of our sovereignty. However, the legal fact of the United Kingdom’s sovereignty over British Gibraltar Territorial Waters is not affected by such violations.

I strongly condemn this provocative incursion and urge the Spanish government to ensure that it is not repeated. Her Majesty’s Government will continue to take whatever action we consider necessary to uphold British sovereignty and the interests of Gibraltar, its people, its security and economy.

Further information

This is the fourth time the Spanish Ambassador has been publicly summoned in relation to Gibraltar since the current Spanish government took office in December 2011. Read our previous statements:

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Published 2 April 2014