Press release

UK condemns unlawful and provocative Spanish incursion

Acting Permanent Under Secretary summons Spanish Ambassador to raise concerns regarding incursion into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.

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


Acting Permanent Under Secretary Matthew Rycroft summoned the Spanish Ambassador H.E. Federico Trillo this afternoon to raise the United Kingdom’s serious concerns regarding a significant incursion into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters on 18 and 19 November. The UK remains confident of its sovereignty over the whole of Gibraltar, including British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. The Spanish incursions are unlawful: they do not change international law or weaken the legal basis for British sovereignty.

During the meeting, the Acting Permanent Under Secretary also highlighted the unacceptable border delays which continue to affect Gibraltarians and tourists, as well as large numbers of Spanish commuters benefiting from employment in Gibraltar, on a near-daily basis. The European Commission has given Spain clear recommendations which, if implemented, would improve the functioning of the border. The UK expects the Spanish government to act on these recommendations without delay.

Matthew Rycroft reiterated the UK’s commitment to ad hoc talks, as proposed by the Foreign Secretary in April 2012, as a means to work around incompatible positions on format that have previously prevented dialogue.

Further information

This is the third 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 19 November 2013