British Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke on Wednesday to his Spanish peer Jose Garcia Margallo with the commitment of finding a diplomatic solution to the dispute at the Spain/Gibraltar border.
The exchange follows an earlier phone communication between Primer ministers David Cameron and Mariano Rajoy
“Our Prime Ministers agreed this morning on the need to de-escalate the current tensions”, said the Foreign Secretary in a brief release.
“I have now spoken to the Spanish Foreign Minister to reiterate that recent events at the Spain / Gibraltar border and continuing border delays are disproportionate.
“I urged the Spanish authorities to de-escalate the situation. (Gibraltar) Chief Minister Picardo has been consistent throughout in his commitment to introduce measures on sustainable fishing in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. These matters are within the constitutional competence of Gibraltar and show Gibraltar’s genuine willingness to resolve the fishing dispute.
Finally “the Foreign Secretary and Spanish Foreign Minister agreed on the need for dialogue, in the context of the Foreign Secretary’s proposals from April last year to explore ad hoc dialogue involving the Government of Gibraltar”.
Earlier in the day Cameron and Rajoy agreed they did not want the Gibraltar issue to become an obstacle in the bilateral relations and pledged to find a way to de-escalate tension with the immediate step having both foreign ministers discuss a way forward.
PM Rajoy noted the relationship with UK as one between allies and partners and said that differences had to be dealt with honestly and transparently. He committed himself to look for a solution to the current situation created by the Gibraltar authorities and which had created great discontent in Spain. He declared the unilateral dropping of the cement reef blocks as unacceptable”.