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Friday, March 31, 2023

Gibraltar Accuses Spain of “Gross Violations of Sovereignty” 

On a beach near Gibraltar early on Thursday, two Spanish customs officers were hurt when pebbles were hurled at them

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

SPAIN: Gibraltar accused Spain of a “gross breach of British sovereignty” on Friday after two Spanish customs agents entered the British overseas territory during an anti-smuggling operation.

On a beach near Gibraltar early on Thursday, two Spanish customs officers were hurt when pebbles were hurled at them. According to Spanish news reports, their small boat ran out of gas while chasing people who were thought to be smuggling tobacco.

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Spanish daily EI Pais’ website shared a video of the incident in which the smugglers can be seen yelling, “This is Gibraltar. This is not your job!”

Although it is unclear who fired the rounds, other social media footage seems to show them being fired during the altercation.

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In a statement released on Friday, Fabian Picardo, the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, said that the evidence from the incident “shows a gross violation of British sovereignty and could be the most serious and dangerous event in many years.”

He said that Gibraltar needed to find out more before deciding how to handle things diplomatically. But he also said, “The events show that what the Spanish officials are doing is not okay.”

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The governments of Gibraltar and the UK think that the events “will require careful consideration of the nature and level of diplomatic response,” according to a statement from the Gibraltar government.

If it turns out that Spanish soldiers fired their guns in Gibraltar, this would be “a very serious violation of the law, as well as reckless and dangerous,” said the statement.

On Friday, Spain’s foreign ministry condemned the attack on the customs officers, who had “serious injuries,” and said that it “categorically rejects the terms” of the Gibraltar statement, “as well as the claims of alleged British sovereignty over the territory and waters of Gibraltar contained therein.”

Britain and Gibraltar are trying to agree on a treaty that would say what will happen to Gibraltar after Brexit and how to keep the border with Spain safe.

Since Britain voted to leave the European Union in 2016, this has been a contentious issue. The peninsula was left out of the EU-Britain departure agreement. Madrid and London were “very close to a deal,” Spain’s Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Manuel Albares said in mid-January.

Spain gave up the rocky outpost at the opening of the Mediterranean Sea to Britain in 1713 but has long demanded its return. 99% of Gibraltar voters in 2002 opposed the idea of Britain and Spain sharing sovereignty.

Also Read: Spain, Morocco Strengthen Economic Relations as Western Sahara Policy Tensions Decrease


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