British, Spanish ships involved in standoff over Gibraltar

Discussion in 'Europe and Russia' started by Zebra, May 25, 2012.

  1. Zebra

    Zebra Senior Member Senior Member

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    By Andrés Cala, Correspondent / May 24, 2012

    The British navy and Spanish civil guard faced off today over a fishing dispute off the Gibraltar coast. Spain maintains it only ceded Gibraltar to the British, not the waters around it.

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    The rock (back) of the British Colony of Gibraltar is seen at dusk from La Linea de la Concepcion, southern Spain on May 18.
    Jon Nazca/Reuters

    Madrid
    The British Royal Navy and Spain’s Civil Guard engaged in a testy three hour standoff this morning over the sovereignty of waters off Gibraltar that devolved into bad-mouthing and at least one small collision.

    Spanish boats were fishing in waters claimed by both Spain and the UK when Gibraltarian police speedboats, backed up by the British Royal Navy, encircled them. Spanish Civil Guard armed patrollers and a helicopter came to the fishermen’s defense, prompting the Royal Navy ship to intervene, setting off a shouting match, and causing at least one minor, and apparently accidental, collision.

    It’s not the first standoff at sea between Spain and Britain, but it is the most serious in decades. The new Gibraltar government said when it came to power in December that a 1999 agreement that gave Spain rights to fish off its coast was unconstitutional and began forcing back Spanish ships. Spain insists on returning to the 1999 agreement, but refuses to negotiate with Gibraltar.

    The spat is exacerbating strains that began last week, when Spain’s monarchy snubbed Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee in protest of next month’s planned official visit to Gibraltar of Britain's Prince Edward, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth, and his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex.

    Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo, who will meet his British counterpart William Hague in London next week, said a diplomatic solution to the issue of Gibraltar's sovereignty was necessary, but emphasized that Spain would protect its fishing fleet. Spain’s Interior Ministry said its ships would not accept “intimidation or humiliations.”

    Spain ceded control of Gibraltar to what is now the United Kingdom in 1713 in the Treaty of Utrecht. The minute territory of 2.6 square miles nicknamed the “Rock” is a peninsula off Spain on the Mediterranean coast just off the entrance to the Atlantic Ocean and it gives Britain access to the Mediterranean. (See map of Gibraltar.)

    The UK recognizes it as one of its overseas territories and its 30,000 inhabitants have British citizenship. But Spain has historically rejected British and Gibraltarian claims over the waters beyond Gibraltar's port, arguing that the treaty never included any mention of them.
    18th century tactics?

    Fabian Picardo, the Gibraltar head of government, accused Spain of an “obviously carefully premeditated challenge to our indisputable sovereignty, jurisdiction, and control of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters and our airspace.”

    “Those who are orchestrating these dangerous confrontations need to come to their senses and accept the challenge, once and for all, to litigate their claims to our territory in the relevant international tribunals established for that purpose in the 21st century and not put people's safety and security at risk trying to advance their position out at sea as if in the 18th century,” Mr. Picardo said.

    Gibraltar has been a historically sensitive issue for Spain, which lost the territory in the War of Spanish Succession in 1704. It was a humiliating conquest, but Spain's claim, based on being the original owners of Gibraltar, is also hypocritical – Spain controls two small enclaves in Morocco.

    Britain's claim is more of an anachronism. Gibraltar is of little strategic importance now, but Britain can’t retreat from its legal commitments either, even if the sovereignty issue appears irrelevant within the framework of the European Union.

    An earlier Spanish-British agreement for shared sovereignty was overwhelmingly rejected by Gibraltarians through a referendum in 2002. A European Court recognized Spain’s claim over the waters, but the issue has not reached Europe’s highest court.

    British, Spanish ships almost come to blows over 'The Rock' - CSMonitor.com
     
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  3. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Gibraltar police harass Spanish fishing boats | Fox News Latino
     
  4. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Isn't this a wonderful bit of news? Erstwhile superpower left to fighting over a small rock with a nearly failed state. let's get the guns booming :rofl:
     
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  5. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Great Siege of Gibraltar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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  6. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Is Gilbratar's water supply from Spain?
     
  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    This Rock supervises and monitors the entry and exit to the Mediterranean.

    Strategically crucial.

    Spain has always indicated that it has to be returned to Spain.

    The territory was ceded to Britain "in perpetuity" under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.

    Two referandums were held i.e. in 1967 and then in 2002. Gibraltarians opted to remain with Britain.

    Gibraltar governs itself independent except defence and foreign relations which is with the British.

    The British Nationality Act 1981 gives the Gibraltarians full British citizenship.
     
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  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The main ethnic groups, according to the origin of names in the electoral roll, are Britons (27%), Spanish (24%, mostly Andalusians but also some 2% of Minorcans), Genoese and other Italians (20%), Portuguese (10%), Maltese (8%), and Jews (3%). There are also small (less than 1%) peoples of other groups such as Moroccans, French, Austrians, Chinese, Japanese, Polish and Danish.

    Source: Wiki

    I think the water supply comes from the Spainish mainland.
     
  9. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Yes it is a strategic piece of rock. Funny enough people vote to stay with Briton and by the looks of it, it makes sense to stay with the UK than a nearly failed state.
     
  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    I think it is because it permits Gibraltar to be an Independent entity instead of being governed by a country i.e. Spain in all its facets.
     
  11. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    US People--Vice Admiral John D. Bulkeley, USN -- Non-portrait Views taken from 1946 through 1976
     
  12. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    Spanish are chauvinist, more like the French actually.
     
  13. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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  14. Mr.Ryu

    Mr.Ryu Regular Member

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  15. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Well that's not your fault.:D
     
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