Gibraltar accuses Spain of 'gross violation of sovereignty'
News » Incidents
Gibraltar on Friday accused Spain of “gross violation of British sovereignty” after two customs officers entered British territory during an anti-smuggling operation.
Two Spanish customs officers were injured on Gibraltar beach early on Thursday while chasing suspected tobacco smugglers, according to Spanish media reports.
Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said in a statement Friday: incident, testify to a gross violation of British sovereignty and perhaps the most serious and dangerous incident in many years.”
He said that Gibraltar needed to investigate the facts before deciding what diplomatic response to take, but added that “events indicate that the actions of Spanish officials are unacceptable.”
In a statement The Government of Gibraltar states that the Governments of Gibraltar and the United Kingdom believe that the events “will require careful consideration of the nature and level of diplomatic response”.
would be “a very serious violation of the law, as well as recklessness and danger,” he added.
Spain's foreign ministry on Friday condemned the attack on customs officials who suffered “serious injuries” and said it “categorically rejects the conditions” statement released by Gibraltar “as well as allegations of alleged British sovereignty over the territory and waters of Gibraltar.”
The incident occurred as the UK and Gibraltar are trying to negotiate a treaty to settle Gibraltar's post-Brexit status and border control with Spain.
This has been the subject of controversy since the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016. The peninsula was excluded from the UK-EU withdrawal agreement.
Spain ceded a rocky outpost at the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea to Britain in 1713, but has long demanded its return. In 2002, 99% of Gibraltar's voters rejected the idea of sharing sovereignty between Britain and Spain.