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Title: Gibraltar First Minister issues strong statement against the Spanish
Author: Fraser Trevor
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Following the clashes on Wednesday night between Spanish fishermen and the Gibraltar Police, the Gibraltar Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, h...

Following the clashes on Wednesday night between Spanish fishermen and the Gibraltar Police, the Gibraltar Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, has issued a statement. The clashes saw the incursion of the Guardia Civil and the present of a Royal Navy ship in the area and went on for several hours. Mr Picardo strongly condemned the incursion by the Guardia Civil and Spanish fishermen and described the incidents as ‘an obviously carefully premeditated challenge to our indisputable sovereignty, jurisdiction and control of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters and our airspace’. He said the decision makers in Spain should take their challenge on jurisdiction to the courts, rather than seek confrontation at sea. ‘Those who orchestrating these dangerous confrontations need to come to their senses and accept the challenge, once and for all, to litigate their claims to our territory in the relevant international tribunals established for that purpose in the 21st century, and not put people’s safety and security at risk trying to advance their position out of sea as if in the 18th century’ he said. The Spanish Interior Minister, Jorge Fernández Díaz, warned that Spain ‘will not accept a policy of fait accompli which supposes a ‘violation of Spanish sovereignty’ in the talks to resolve the fishing conflict in the waters of Gibraltar. He said that the Spanish Government would ‘defend the rights to fish of our fishermen with dialogue and reason’. Fabian Picardo says his position will be underlined by British Interior Minister William Hague when he meets his Spanish counterpart, José Manuel Garcia-Margallo in London on Tuesday next week. The UK Minister for Europe, David Lidington, is also understood to have called Picardo to assure him of Britain’s position. Britain claims three miles of territorial sea around the Rock but this is not accepted by Spain.

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