British Prime Minister David Cameron has told Chief Minister Fabian Picardo that Britain “will not compromise on sovereignty” in the face of Spanish incursions into British Gibraltar territorial waters.
PM Cameron was replying to a letter sent to him by the Chief Minister in the wake of the incident in which a Guardia Civil officer fired shots while chasing a local man on a jet ski in British Gibraltar territorial waters.
Mr Cameron said he was “very concerned by reports of the incursion” and that he brought up the issue directly with the Prime Minister of Spain.
“I made clear to Prime Minister Rajoy that the reported actions of the Guardia Civil were unacceptable and that the Spanish Government should urgently investigate what happened,” Mr Cameron wrote in his letter to the Chief Minister, extracts of which were released this weekend by No.6 Convent Place.
The Prime Minister acknowledged that the shooting incident had to be analysed within the context of persistent incursions by Spanish state vessels into British Gibraltar territorial waters over the past year.
“I agree that the jet-ski incident must be seen in a wider context in which Spanish incursions have increased substantially since March 2012,” Mr Cameron added.
“I assure you that the UK Government will meet its constitutional commitments to the people of Gibraltar and will not compromise on sovereignty.”
Picardo said he was pleased that the Prime Minister had taken “a strong line” on the jet-ski incident. “Mr Cameron’s letter is further proof of the British Government’s unequivocal commitment to our sovereignty”.
Mr Cameron’s letter comes against the background of calls locally for a tougher response from Britain to persistent incursions by Spanish state vessels into British Gibraltar territorial waters.
In the wake of the shooting incident, Gibraltar’s political parties united in Parliament to call on the British Government to reinforce its naval presence here to act as a deterrent.
While welcoming the British Government’s robust diplomatic response to the incident, MPs from both sides of the floor unanimously called on the UK to deploy a larger naval vessel to the Rock.