In what could very well have been one of his last comments as Foreign Affairs minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos said Spain would be removing the scientific buoys that it laid in Gibraltar waters as from Wednesday October 20.
During a news conference Tuesday in Madrid with the Rumanian Prime Minister, Moratinos was asked about statements on the subject made in London Monday by the UK Minister for Europe David Lidington.
The buoys were placed there as part of a hydro-graphic survey of tides and
currents carried out by a Spanish scientific vessel that has as its objective the safety of maritime traffic in the area. They will now be removed as from the 20th of this month which is when the study will be concluded, said Sr Moratinos quoted in Europa Press.
According to Europa Press, the buoys have annoyed Gibraltar Chief Minister Peter Caruana because they are located in waters within the three nautical mile limit which UK and Gibraltar claim as their own.
Moratinos also rejected that the removal of the buoys should be interpreted as a gesture toward or an attempt to please the Gib Chief Minister, following last week's ministerial statement when Caruana announced his Government's decision to postpone planned technical talks on law enforcement cooperation under the Tripartite Forum, following serious incident at sea caused by the Guardia Civil and involving the RGP.
Our respective position regarding the sovereignty of the disputed waters is extremely clear, he declared.
Moratinos reiterated that Spain continues to work closely with UK and Gibraltar to ”be able to hold the planned meeting of the Tripartite Forum before the end of the year”.