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article imageBritish MP accuses Spain of ‘act of war’ over naval ships

By Anne Sewell     Dec 13, 2012 in World
London - A British MP, Bob Stewart, has accused Spain of "an act of war," after Spanish naval ships repeatedly entered the territorial waters of Gibraltar.
Stewart, who is the Tory MP for Beckenham, said that the British Government needs to “respond robustly to this aggravation.” He said this after Commons Leader Andrew Lansley said two Spanish naval vessels had entered the waters off Gibraltar on Monday.
Stewart told MPs: "May I gently remind the House that an illegal incursion into British Gibraltarian sovereign waters is actually, technically an act of war?"
'What is happening at the moment is wrong and we should do something about it."
"Can I ask for an urgent statement by the Secretary of State for Defence and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to actually respond robustly to this aggravation?" he added.
The comments by Stewart followed after his Tory colleague, Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, said that Spain needed to be stopped immediately.
Speaking to Lansley, he said, "I am sure the entire House will be shocked, angered and dismayed at the continual incursions by the Spanish government into the waters around the British sovereign territory of Gibraltar."
"This is an act of aggression and will you ask the Secretary of State for Defence and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to make a statement about what Her Majesty's Government will do to ensure these illegal incursions into British sovereign waters are stopped forthwith?"
The leader of the house said in reply that the UK government was dealing with the situation through diplomatic channels. He further said that when radio warnings are given to the Spanish vessels, they depart from Gibraltar's waters.
According to Defence Minister Andrew Robathan, there were 67 instances in 2010, 23 in 2011, and from the beginning of January to the end of November this year, there have been 197 occasions when Spanish ships had sailed into the waters of Gibraltar.
Aerial view of Gibraltar
Aerial view of Gibraltar
According to Typically Spanish, the British government continues to refuse to accept that the only waters ceded in the treaty between Spain and Britain were inside the port.
In the article, they state that it is not a common thing for a Spanish Navy vessel to travel inside the Gibraltar three mile limit, but that there are frequent incursions by the Guardia Civil (Spanish civil guard), who say that they are there to protect the fishermen who work in the zone.
More information about the territorial waters can be read here.
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