Britain reviews naval presence in Gibraltar after standoff
London: Britain said on Thursday it was reviewing its military presence off Gibraltar following a lengthy stand-off between the Royal Navy and a Spanish ship, but denied it was resorting to "gunboat diplomacy".
Foreign Office minister Mark Simmonds said he wanted to de-escalate the situation but would not put up with "bullying and intimidation" of the British territory at the mouth of the Mediterranean.
Britain summoned the Spanish ambassador yesterday to explain the most serious incursion for months in the waters off Gibraltar, which Spain has long claimed as its own.
A Spanish state oceanographic research ship, backed up by three military Spanish police boats, ignored orders to leave for 22 hours before departing yesterday, coming within 250 metres (yards) of Gibraltar`s harbour.
Gibraltar`s chief minister Fabian Picardo responded by urging Britain to deploy bigger military ships to deter similar incursions.
"We constantly review as to whether the Royal Navy`s deployment around Gibraltar is accurate. We are reviewing that at this current time as well," Simmonds told parliament in an emergency debate on the incursion.
He said he wanted a "political solution" to the dispute, adding: "We do not believe that gunboat diplomacy and tit-for-tat escalation is in anyone`s interest.
"Bullying and intimidation, wherever it occurs, in unacceptable and that is what appears to be happening in relation to Gibraltar."
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 tension.
The Foreign Office has recorded a huge surge in the number of incursions into British territorial waters since Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy took office in December 2011, and has also summoned the ambassador three times.
There were demands in the British parliament today for the ambassador to be thrown out, calls for "real action", plus comparisons made with Iran and Spain`s Franco-era dictatorship.
Download the all new Zee News app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with latest headlines and news stories in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Technology, Business and much more from India and around the world.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Helicopter ferrying 6 pilgrims, woman pilot crashes near Katra
- Growing sense of despondency in India from last 6-8 months: Aamir Khan
- 8th Ramnath Goenka Awards: Sudhir Chaudhary awarded for Excellence in Journalism
- Arvind Kejriwal clarifies his friendly gesture with Lalu Prasad Yadav
- Tejashwi Yadav takes charge as Deputy CM of Bihar
- Know how much sex is enough for happiness
- Swaragini: Ragini gets caught in her own trap; Swara slaps her
- Rahul's mails nail Peter Mukerjea's involvement in Sheena Bora murder case?
- Shah Rukh Khan tweets about new ‘Dilwale’ song
- Lesson for jihadi aspirants? ISIS says Indians not good enough as 6 out of 23 fighters from India are killed