Spain complained about the British military presence in Gibraltar and then the next day, refuelled a Russian warship in its own overseas territory of Ceuta.

Spanish ambassador Santos said at a UN meeting on decolonisation that Spain sought the return of Gibraltar and the “illegally occupied” isthmus. Mr Santos said that since 1963, Gibraltar had been included on the UN list of territories subject to decolonisation.

“And there it remains, which demonstrates beyond doubt that the relationship between Gibraltar and the United Kingdom is colonial in nature,” he said.

“Additionally, and though it might seem obvious to mention it, I have to note that in both cases, military installations lie at the heart of the matter”, he added.

Meanwhile, across the Mediterranean at the Spanish colony of Ceuta, a Russian Navy warship is being refuelled.

The vessel in port.

Ceuta is one of two Spanish exclaves in North Africa (the other one being Melilla). The territory had several rulers before the Portuguese in 1415 took control of this city east of Tangier. Since 1580 it has been under Spanish administration but has the status of an autonomous city despite being located on the African continent almost directly south of of Gibraltar.

This has happened before, last year the Russian cruiser Marshal Ustinov was refuelled in Spain after operations in Syria, despite fresh sanctions against Russia.

The American government, backed by statements from NATO officials, had announced additional sanctions against Russia over its ongoing occupation of Crimea and its interference in eastern Ukraine.

Spain is frequently under pressure from NATO allies not to allow the refuelling of the Russian warships but does so anyway.

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Wait for it…..send a gunboat…nuke them….and other well thought out responses! I sometimes think George is very naughty!

Steve T

Time we aught to send a Frigate to fly the flag and willy wave at the damn Spaniards.

andy reeves

and nightly project the union flag on the hillside of the rock facing spain and play’ god save the queen’ every night at 2 in the morning, loud enough to be heard in madrid!


You have to when those idiots try and ram a US nuclear submarine.
Are you going to excuse that as well?

Spain is a hypocrite, has gone against NATO and is a constant threat to shipping and lives, who needs enemies with ‘friends’ like them


Sail into Cadiz and commandeer the Spanish Flagship!

andy reeves


andy reeves

put all decommissioning rapiers and artillery pieces on the rock, base a new squadron of typhoons there, put a tank at the border, torpedo systems and a minefield off europa point, put a toll on use of the straits. and cler the defense deficit….. just kiddin.


Spain is a dam joke of a country…


Of course Daniele…..there is no anti-European sentiment expressed on these pages. It’s all because of the EU that people are angry! Oh, it’s not, is it?

Daniele Mandelli

WTF? What do you mean ” Daniele” I’ve just found this article. I’m not Cam.

Deary me. I haven’t commented yet!

Daniele Mandelli

Ahhh, I’ve caught up. You’re referring to my comment from a while back.

As I said then, mostly, not totally. I cannot speak for others only my own experience.


andy reeves

indeed, seconded

andy reeves

thumbs up there


Spain and France
Are 2 countries who pretend to be everyone’s ally but would stab you in the back as soon as something else comes along.

Mr Bell

Disappointing that a European “ally” conducts itself in this manner. Supporting a tin pot dictatorship that is probably guilty of war crimes in Syria and crimes against humanity in supporting the Assad regimen and its chemical weapons strikes. Gibraltar is British, has been for a decent period of time now, its people have voted in an overwhelming referendum to remain British overseas territory with self-governing rule. That for me is the end of the issue, unless of course Spain is going to aspire to be like their Russian friends and try an invasion of Gibraltar. Spain has some front allowing… Read more »


Spain has a massive chip, as it lost most of its colonies. They ruled in Gibraltar less time than Britain. Britain saved Spain from becoming a French colony in 1809 to 1814 before we drove the French out working with the Spanish patriots. That’s all that needs to be said.

andy reeves

ally? who needs enemies with ‘allies like spain?


The Spanish need to be called out for what they are by our politicians and put in their place. We should be pushing the issue of Russian refuelling hard within NATO. Once up and running, we should also sail a carrier strike group into Gibraltar with all the sailors mooning. Ok, that last bit would be childish but soooo good to watch!

andy reeves

nuke em

Andy P

I’ve never understood why the Spanish double standards on Gib V Cueta/Milella aren’t more often challenged.

I’m far from jingoistic and if the Gib locals wanted to become part of Spain then I’m all for it but they don’t and Spain continue to have their ‘Gibs’ in other sovereign states while complaining about ‘our’ Gib. Go figure.


Spain has its own problems with the likes of Catalonia and the Basque country. I think that they use Gibraltar as a focus for national unity. ‘Look what the nasty British are doing to us, we must unite against this tyranny for the sake of our country’. Or something like that. All countries do it, identify a bogeyman: the Nazis with the Jews, the US administration with Iran and some Brits with the EU. It’s more about domestic issues with the Spanish government!

Andy P

Yeah, I get that mate, I just don’t know why the UK doesn’t make more of it. Maybe I just hang around with thickos but when the whole ‘Gib thing’ comes up, very few are aware that Spain have their own ‘Gibs’.

It would remove any moral highground from Spanish claims that it was historically ‘theirs’ while they’re trying to hang onto bits of Morocco.

andy reeves

maybe the uk should ‘claim’ cuelta


Yep well said, dont forget Russian uses the west as the bogey man.


Russia are the best at it, most Russians are brainwashed into thinking most of their problems are caused by the west when in fact it’s coruption and the state.


They also seem to forget the millions from the US that was put in to Russias economy after the USSR went tits up to keep it going.


+1, my thoughts exactly

andy reeves

push the don’t holiday in spain button, that’ll make them shut up. losing godzillions of moolah, because tourism is falling, will concentrate the spanish mindset


Who needs Britis in Spain Italy Greece or anywhere. Stay where you belong

Rob Collinson



andy reeves

and they go on about MY caps lock!!!!!


Just don’t go on holiday there. It’s a big wide world, plenty of places to go other than Spain.


More should head to Gibraltar on holiday, we should expand and reclaim more land from the sea around Gibraltar, turn it into our new Hong Kong.


A British version of the Palm Jumeirah hanging off the Rock, that would cheer the Spaniards up no end.

andy reeves

double its size plant a huge union flag on it and a giant statue giving the finger to spain

andy reeves

just don’t go to bulgaria its awful

Geoffrey Roach

More faces than Picasso, our Spanish “allies” and just as confused. you know..I voted remain in the referendum, now I can.t wait to get out.

Nigel Collins

Its always good to know we can count on our NATO partners when trouble appears on the horizon. Lets cut the defence budget further still, after all, why wouldn’t we handover £40 billion after Brexit and continue with our current foreign aid budget spending.

“Spain Withdraws Frigate from US Carrier Group amid Differences”

Nigel Collins

Its all about trusting your allies right!
“Emmanuel Macron infuriates Nato allies by freezing UK firms out of EU defence contracts after Brexit”


Lol, why should the UK benefit from the PESCO fund if it leaves the EU?
The whole point of that EU funded initiative is to promote EU industry, which the UK would not contribute to or benefit from due to Brexit, just like many other programs such as Galileo, etc…


So the £1.2bn that the UK has already invested in Galileo means nothing to the EU. In which case I will be glad to see the back of this organisation.


give us the money back and we’ll be out of Galileo in no time, time to set up our own/Canzuk/Commonwealth satellite system.

Nigel Collins

Or give Russia a guided tour of the F-35 while they”re waiting to fill up next time.
“Spain’s military still has eyes for the F-35 despite European fighter push”
5 days ago


For the Juan Carlos they have 0 choice but f35b, no alternative stovl available
we will see what they replace the air force’s f18, i imagine the logical choice would/should be the Eurofighter, since they are involved in the project

Rob Young

When are Spain going to give their colonial enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla to Morocco?


It’s all a question of a populations wishes, all nations have good and bad behaviours around this. Apart from one clear exception, the Modern (post 1960s) UK government has been an exemplar of good behaviour, allowing clear voting for populations on their preferred future arrangement with the UK then supporting that result. The Spanish government on the other had has some pretty unpleasant behaviours around supporting populations voting on their relationship with the Spanish government. It is important to remember that Spain is not a mature western democracy, it was a dictatorship during the lifetime of the demographic that generally… Read more »

James M

Was it last year or the year before that the Spanish govt. completely ignored a referendum on whether or not some parts of Spain should stay in Spain?

May I ask what the clear exception is? I can’t think of any.


Yes – Catalonia…. absolute disgrace by their police service, how very democratic
[email protected]


Hi James, the only really bad behaviour by HMG since 1960 was to the 900 odd population of Diego Garcia….we treated them badly and it’s a bit of a stain….also we almost did a nasty to the Falklands islands population but luckily a mad dictator invaded and made HMG see sense.


Stick letting Turkey invade and partition Cyprus in there as well.

And a disorderly and too fast decolonisation of Africa in the 60’s as well.

And the Illegal Iraq war.


I’m talking about bad behaviour to a domestic population sole…I’m not debating good or bad in geopolitics here as it generally takes weeks of research and debate on each event before you can even start to examine the decision making against your own moral bedrocks vs others.

Domestic is a bit easier, as moral responsibility is generally a bit clearer and it can be set against your own cultural moral bedrocks not others.


Macmillan was aware of the problem in Africa. He asked a Foreign Office official whether African dependencies were ready to govern themselves. The official replied that it would be at least 20 years before a political class developed that was capable of embracing democracy (a very generous prediction). He went on to explain that the alternative for Britain was to be fighting independence movements in numerous African countries for that 20 years. Decolonisation went ahead at a pace. The right decision for this country, at least. Macmillan got ‘the wind of change’ right.

James M

Ah, I remember those now. Diego Garcia was not handled well at all.

Rob Young

I assume the clear exception is Chagos.


I would really like to hear a credible explanation from the Spanish Government or indeed any Spanish citizen as to how they square their enormous hypocrisy viz-a-vis Ceuta/Melilla and Gibraltar, with their sentiments regarding the latter. In effect Spain owns the last two European colonies on the continent of Africa! How come the UN and AU are not screaming blue murder?


I have a Spanish cousin and he can’t see how the two issues relate. He says that Spain has owned Cueta and Melilla for over 500 years before Spain was even a country and that the UK stole Gib around 150 years ago. It seems to them that the passage of time makes all the difference. Naturally I told him he was a plonker. The more I pointed out the hypocrisy the less he spoke. I quickly turned the conversation back to football and dared not mention the Catalonia independence referendum!


My understanding of the UN’s view on why Cuenta is different to Gib is that Cuenta is effectively treated like a Spanish city, which has its own MPs who sit in the Spanish parliament. As opposed to them being territories governed from Spain with no representation in the Spanish parliament (which is how UN views Gib and why its on the list of colonial hangovers).

This is also why France doesn’t get pulled up for French Guyana, in that they send MPs to the French parliament.


Maybe we should have an overseas territories MP then.


Yep thats potentially a solution, a each overseas territory elects x number of MPs to send to UK Parliament.

Move to a more federalism approach, which might also works to head off Scottish/Welsh independence.

Daniele Mandelli

Why has this not happened in Gibs case? Or the Falklands?


Political reform in the UK is like a sloth? Should have federalised post Indy-Ref, should move away from our outdated voting system, should have MPs who are purely MPs – not column writers, after dinner speakers etc…

I’ll stop before I enter a full tirade.

David E Flandry

Gibraltar is represented by an MP for the southeast of England.


Sorry they’re not.

Levi Goldsteinberg



As far as I am aware Gibraltar does effectively have an MP. There just is not one specifically covering Gibraltar. They vote as part of a southern England constituency. So they are represented.


In European Elections yes. In UK elections they don’t vote or send representatives to UK Parliament as they’re not part of the UK.


I think the easy solution is to tell the Spanish govt that the next time ANY minister mentions the word Gibraltar the UK shall immediately recognise Catalonia as an independent nation therefore giving them sovereign status under UN rules.

John Fedup

That works both ways, Spain could use the same approach to Scotland. Best not to go there.

Steve Taylor

They always complain about SSN’s visiting Gib. But are happy when USN SSN’s visit a Spanish port.

Latin logic.


Hi folks hope all are well. Yes agree with many of the posts below. Its is about time the UK Government did raise this matter in the context of Spain’s membership of NATO. What on earth do they think this matter is about? Don’t they (Spain) realise this is what Trump is on about, not just the matter of 2% funding from each NATO member, but the value of the organisation when you this form of action. What of the situation if it was to arise for Spain to chose who side it is on if unfortunately a issue were… Read more »


Leak a report about considering opening up negotiations with Morocco about handing part of gib to them, and opening up borders between british and Morocco parts to benefit trade and encourage freedom of movement with the EU and see what Spain’s reaction is.


Spain is playing silly git with us over the whole matter and we are playing with a straight bat, we just have to start playing their game and see how they like it.

The problem is we can’t do anything until brexit is resolved or we risk Spain making any deal even more unlikely.

Post brexit, we can consider putting in an official protest of their membership of NATO and leaking consideration of supporting a UN view on the Spanish overseas territories etc, see how they like the silly games from an Ally.

David E Flandry

By all the principles and norms of international law, Gibraltar is British.


To be honest David the most important point is that Gibraltar is british because the whole native population say they are…as far is I’m concerned if a domestic population says its British we have a duty to ensure they stay british come hell, high water or international law….

I still have a bit of an issue with how we managed hongkong and I think we should have given the population a few more protections and options around hongkong island (the bit we owned and did not lease) and or passports (give them all valid dual nationally as increased protection).

David E Flandry

I would ordinarily agree with you. In the case of Hong Kong, China frankly told the Thatcher government that it could take Hong Kong any time it wanted, and the defense staff told her that Hong Kong was militarily indefensible. The government got the best face-saving deal it could, and handed out lots of passports. The present situation is not likely to last.

Bill Edmead

Why is Spain in NATO at all? They are openly hostile to the UK whenever they can be. They harrass visiting US warships, they are a fifth column in waiting and totally untrustworthy as alliance partners. Their stance on Scotlands bid on independance as part of their campaign against the UK on Brexit was beyond belief. Such belief in Scotlands right to self determination was met with utter bewilderment by Catalonia! Their hypocrisy is legendary. King Juan Carlos has previously snubbed our Queen and Prince Charles with astonishing rudeness. And yet we allow this tinpot regime to kick sand in… Read more »


Hay q tener un poco más de cultura, Ceuta y Melilla no están bajo el amparo de la otan…. Y es peor q una patrullera británica haga prácticas de tiro en aguas españolas…. De eso no de is nada…..

andy reeves

OH dear,another day, another whinge from a nation that didn’t read the small print on the utrecht agreement, and wants it changed, it shows spain’s signature on anything is not worth the paper its written on.time what is now a third rate nation to grow up.


I wonder how it would be if the situation was reversed? Just say Spain had come to our aid to eject Napoleonic forces from an invaded Britain. And just suppose they acquired the Isle of Wight as a consequence! Two hundred years down the line do you think that there would be any voices claiming foul play. I suspect that every reactionary in the country would be draping themselves in the Union Flag. ‘Oh wa God the gift to gee us, to see ourselves as others see us’.