After the end of the European Council meeting, the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the European Union, Ambassador Sir Tim Barrow, has written to the Secretaries General of the Council and Commission of the European Union.
Britain has protested to Spain after a Spanish warship “manoeuvred dangerously” during an incursion into British Gibraltar territorial waters, risking collision with a Royal Navy patrol boat.
The number of unlawful incursions by Spanish state vessels into British Gibraltar territorial waters rose last year compared to 2014. But the number of serious incidents tailed off in the final months of 2015 against the context of diplomatic efforts to increase cooperation at sea, according to a report published in the Gibraltar Chronicle.
Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo has been invited to attend a high level security briefing at the Ministry of Defense in London next week, part of a drive by the British Government to foster closer links with the Government of Gibraltar.
UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has issued a firm hands-off warning to Argentina by insisting the government will “never sell out” the Falkland Islands. The Foreign Secretary insisted the “bullying and harassment” against the Islanders must stop, adding it is counter-productive and “shameful”.
British Government will continue to press Spain to honor the agreement to step up law enforcement cooperation in Gibraltar waters, Philip Dunne Minister of State for Defence has said. Mr Dunne was responding to a written question in the House of Commons from Tory MP Andrew Rosindell.
Spain has signaled its “full willingness” to improve cross-border law enforcement cooperation with Gibraltar, according to a press report in Spain. 'El Pais' said Madrid was seeking to defuse the fallout from last Saturday’s incident at sea, during which warning shots were fired by officers of the Servicio de Vigilancia Aduanera (Customs) who tried to board a local pleasure boat in British waters.
The British and Spanish foreign ministers sought to highlight a renewed drive toward an ‘ad hoc’ dialogue on Gibraltar this week, but in doing so drew firm red lines that signaled just how difficult that task will prove. The coordinated message was positive and hinted at the possibility of talks ‘in the near future’ if a format could be agreed. But on core issues, there was no change.
A world legal expert on the law of the sea is to be engaged by the Gibraltar Government to probe the concept of ‘innocent passage’ as a concept of international law. The concept is regularly cited in relation to Spanish warships and Guardia Civil vessels when they pass through British Gibraltar Territorial Waters, usually when they do not engage in any other activity.
A package of new measures announced by the Defense Secretary has reaffirmed the UK’s support to Gibraltar. On his first visit since becoming Secretary of State, Michael Fallon paid tribute to those working to support defense activities in Gibraltar and emphasized the strategic importance of the permanent joint operating base there.