Press release

FCO summons Spanish Ambassador over Spanish Navy activity off Gibraltar

FCO has summoned the Spanish Ambassador to the UK to underline serious concern at the activity of a Spanish Navy vessel in international waters off Gibraltar yesterday.

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Last night the Prime Minister also raised Gibraltar with Prime Minister Rajoy in the margins of the EU Council meeting. He made clear to Mr Rajoy that there must not be a repeat of last summer’s disruption.

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

I am extremely concerned by the actions of a Spanish Navy vessel which sought to redirect two commercial vessels heading to and from the Port of Gibraltar, wrongly claiming they were in Spanish waters. The vessels were in international waters off Gibraltar, and the actions of the Spanish Navy vessel constitute a breach of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Freedom of navigation in international waters is a vital principle of international law. The two commercial vessels, under instructions from Gibraltar port authorities, were able to continue their business uninterrupted. But this represents a cynical attempt by the Spanish government to disrupt Gibraltar’s economy, in contravention of international Iaw.

I condemn this provocative activity 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 the interests of Gibraltar, its people, its security and economy.

Further information

The Spanish Ambassador, His Excellency Federico Trillo, has been summoned to appear at the Foreign Office early this evening, 17 July.

This activity occurred in international waters off Gibraltar. According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, freedom of navigation is guaranteed in these waters. This is the fifth time the Spanish Ambassador has been publicly summoned in relation to Gibraltar since the current Spanish government took office in December 2011.

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Published 17 July 2014