The Spanish government for the moment anticipated no reprisals for the latest visit to Gibraltar of the British nuclear submarine HMS Tireless. However it will examine the effects London's unfriendly acts may have on bilateral relations, Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos insisted this Thursday in Madrid.
At a press conference after meeting with his Hungarian counterpart, Laszlo Kovacs, Mr. Moratinos said the government would continue to suspend enforcement of a ban on cruise ships that stop in Gibraltar docking in Spanish ports, because "Spain keeps its word".
No retaliatory measures will be taken until an evaluation is made of Britain's refusal to comply with the "requests of a friendly country" cautioned Mr. Moratinos.
"Since we have been in government, several incidents we consider unfriendly have occurred" added Mr. Moratinos.
Analysts believe Mr. Morantino was referring to the recent visit by Britain's Princess Anne to Gibraltar to mark the 300th anniversary of British rule in the Rock.
Spain would like to see the HMS Tireless' visit to Gibraltar, where it is due this Friday, to be "as brief as possible." A stay of one week would be "long" said Mr. Morantinos.
The Spanish minister indicated he had conveyed his displeasure on Thursday to British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who assured him that London wanted HMS Tireless' visit to be "short and safe."
Mr. Moratinos comments followed Spanish Defense Minister Jose Bono's official protest to his British counterpart, Geoff Hoon, over the impending arrival of the nuclear submarine in Gibraltar.
"We've lodged a protest with the British defense secretary, not only because of Gibraltar, but also because of the name of the submarine and its history", calling the incident "diplomatic and not a defence issue".
The Spanish government last Wednesday expressed its "profound displeasure" over Britain's refusal to cancel the submarine's scheduled arrival, warning that such a visit would mark "a negative shift" in bilateral relations.
Madrid was informed of HMS Tireless' visit by London June 23, which had been "planned for several months within a normal program of operations".
Spain asked Britain at that time "to cancel the visit".
HMS Tireless was stranded for almost a year in Gibraltar (May 2000/May 2001) following a breakdown in the submarine's nuclear reactor's refrigeration system sparking protests on both sides of the frontier.