It s not the first standoff at sea between Spain and Britain , but it is the most serious in decades. The new Gibraltargovernment said when it came to power in December that a 1999agreement that gave Spain rights to fish off its coast wasunconstitutional and began forcing back Spanish ships. Spaininsists on returning to the 1999 agreement, but refuses tonegotiate with Gibraltar. The spat is exacerbating strains that began last week, whenSpain s monarchy snubbed Queen Elizabeth s diamond jubilee in protest of next month s planned officialvisit to Gibraltar of Britain’s Prince Edward, the youngest son ofQueen Elizabeth, and his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Sierra Wireless Router
Spanish Foreign Minister Jos Manuel Garc a-Margallo, who will meet his Britishcounterpart William Hague in London next week, said a diplomatic solution to the issue of Gibraltar’ssovereignty was necessary, but emphasized that Spain would protectits fishing fleet. Spain s Interior Ministry said its ships wouldnot accept intimidation or humiliations. Spain ceded control of Gibraltar to what is now the United Kingdomin 1713 in the Treaty of Utrecht . The minute territory of 2.6 square miles nicknamed the Rock is a peninsula off Spain on the Mediterranean coast just off theentrance to the Atlantic Ocean and it gives Britain access to the Mediterranean. Huawei Data Cards
( See map of Gibraltar .) The UK recognizes it as one of its overseas territories and its30,000 inhabitants have British citizenship. But Spain hashistorically rejected British and Gibraltarian claims over thewaters beyond Gibraltar’s port, arguing that the treaty neverincluded any mention of them. 18th century tactics? Fabian Picardo, the Gibraltar head of government, accused Spain ofan obviously carefully premeditated challenge to our indisputablesovereignty, jurisdiction, and control of British GibraltarTerritorial Waters and our airspace. Those who are orchestrating these dangerous confrontations needto come to their senses and accept the challenge, once and for all,to litigate their claims to our territory in the relevantinternational tribunals established for that purpose in the 21stcentury and not put people’s safety and security at risk trying toadvance their position out at sea as if in the 18th century, Mr.Picardo said. Gibraltar has been a historically sensitive issue for Spain, whichlost the territory in the War of Spanish Succession in 1704. Customized Cell Phones Manufacturer
It wasa humiliating conquest, but Spain’s claim, based on being theoriginal owners of Gibraltar, is also hypocritical Spaincontrols two small enclaves in Morocco . Britain’s claim is more of an anachronism. Gibraltar is of littlestrategic importance now, but Britain can t retreat from its legalcommitments either, even if the sovereignty issue appearsirrelevant within the framework of the European Union . An earlier Spanish-British agreement for shared sovereignty wasoverwhelmingly rejected by Gibraltarians through a referendum in2002. A European Court recognized Spain s claim over the waters,but the issue has not reached Europe s highest court.