Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis has said Spain will not seek to regain sovereignty over Gibraltar in Brexit talks.

“I won’t make an agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom conditional on recovering sovereignty over Gibraltar. We will try to convince the Gibraltarians that this is a route worth exploring and that it would benefit them too.”

This comes despite a former Ministry of Defence adviser saying that Royal Navy warships should be sent to Gibraltar to ‘protect it from Spain’ while Britain negotiates a deal to leave the European Union.

Writing in Conservative Homes, Luke Coffey, director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies said:

“First and foremost, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Michael Fallon, and David Davis should make a joint visit to Gibraltar as soon as possible.

The Ministry of Defence should also make a grand gesture by increasing the Royal Navy’s visible presence in Gibraltar. This would send an important message to the Gibraltarians.

The UK needs to prepare for the worse. This could include maintaining a robust air bridge if the land border is closed. Also, in the event of a border closure by Spain, the UK must be prepared to respond with appropriate, firm, and proportionate measures against Madrid.”

The Spanish government had called for joint sovereignty over Gibraltar after the UK decided to leave the European Union.

95.9% of ‘The Rock’s’ 30,000 population voted overwhelmingly for staying in the EU.

Speaking on national radio, Spain’s Foreign Minister said:

“It’s a complete change of outlook that opens up new possibilities on Gibraltar not seen for a very long time. I hope the formula of co-sovereignty – to be clear, the Spanish flag on the Rock – is much closer than before.”

Relations aren’t calm however, in May, a Spanish patrol boat reportedly tried to “hassle” an American nuclear submarine attempting to dock at Gibraltar.

According to multiple sources, flares were fired across the bow of the Spanish Guardia Civil vessel Rio Cedena in mid-April as it twice attempted to sail across the front of the American ballistic missile submarine USS Florida.

The USS Florida, a 20,000 ton Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, was commissioned in 1983 with the hull designation of SSBN-728; with her conversion to a cruise missile submarine, she was re-designated SSGN-728. She carriers 154 BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

The Guardia Civil launch Rio Cedeña attempted to cross in front of the submarine but was stopped by the actions the Royal Navy’s HMS Sabre and a rigid-hulled inflatable boat, which manoeuvred in close, according to an eyewitness as reported by ‘The Chronicle’.

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KieranC
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KieranC

Surely there is space for one of these river class patrol ships to be stationed there permanently.

Ian
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Ian

Very sensible & proportionate

chris
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chris

You have to wonder if the King of Spain didn’t go back from his State Visit to the UK, after someone had a word in shell like, and told his Government to stop being idiots and keep their hands off

Spanish Royalty are more politically involved than is UK Monarchy.

Mr Bell
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Mr Bell

Not too interested in the Spanish royalty and what they did or did not do. Fact of the matter is that Gibraltar was given to the uk as a thankyou gift for the UK supporting Spain in Napoleonic wars. some 12-15,000 British personnel died fighting in Spain for Spanish freedom from tyranny. At the time Gibraltar was a worthless rock inhabited by smugglers, brigands’ and the odd goat. It is only because the Royal Navy had the vision to realise Gibraltar was a strategic location and the key to controlling the Mediterranean that now Spain want it back. Tough. a… Read more »

KieranC
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KieranC

Not sure where you studied history mate but Gibraltar was captured in the Spanish war of succession in early 1700’s, then ceded to us in a treaty to end the war, a century before the napoleonic wars.

Filip Vyrubek
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Filip Vyrubek

The West should stick together

Steve
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Steve

A sensible move by Spain. i don’t think the UK would be opposed to giving it back, should the people want it and brexit could encourage that. It’s military importance is now minimal in an era of mid air refuelling and peace in Europe. On the flip side we should not be bullied over brexit or anything else to stop listening to the people and hand it over.

Tim62
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Tim62

@Steve exactly. The UK has always said that “Gibraltarians’ wishes are paramoun” except that right now they are not where Brexit is concerned. So as you say if Spain is sensible, there is an opening for them to say “come and allow joint sovereignty and there will be massive economic benefits of staying in the EU/cross border investment etc – rather than being forced out of the EU against your will by the Brits”. There is only an only an outside chance this will work given the current political climate in Gib, but from Madrid’s POV it is the sensible… Read more »

Atlanterra
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Atlanterra

jueves, 10 de agosto de 2017 13:22 Following suit of KieranC’s correct clarification, and chipping in with an alternate description of history: – Gibraltar was seized for the house of Austria, during the Spanish War of Succession (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_the_Spanish_Succession) by a joint task force commanded by the Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt, named as viceroy of Catalonia by the Archduke Charles of Hapsburg, after having been crowned as his Catholic Majesty Charles III of Spain on Feb 6th, 1698.  – That it was a battalion of troops from Catalonia that first landed at the foot of the rock, at a place on… Read more »