UK, Spain to engage in legal battle for Gibraltar

UK, Spain to engage in legal battle for Gibraltar

MADRID / LONDON – Agence France-Presse
UK, Spain to engage in legal battle for Gibraltar

British Prime Minister, David Cameron awaits the arrival of the King of Bahrain to Downing street in central London on August 6, 2013. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL

Both Spain and Great Britain announced yesterday one after the other that they are planning to take legal action against each other over the disputed territory of Gibraltar. A Spanish Foreign Ministry spokesman said the country was considering taking the row to global bodies such as the United Nations and International Court of Justice at The Hague, while a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said the British government was considering taking legal action against Spain over stringent border checks imposed at the border with Gibraltar.

“We are evaluating the possibility of going to bodies like the United Nations, the Security Council and the court in The Hague. They are possibilities. No decision has been taken,” the Spanish spokesman said.

Madrid is also mulling presenting a united front with Argentina, which is immersed in its own dispute with Britain over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, over the issue of Gibraltar, the spokesman added.

Spain could team up with Argentina, which is on a two-year term as non-permanent member of the U.N.’s Security Council, to address the issue of the sovereignty of Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands, or the Malvinas as they are known in Spanish, in international bodies, he added.

“That is also being evaluated. There are common elements in the issue of Malvinas and Gibraltar and elements that are more distant,” he added.

Cameron’s spokesman, meanwhile, said, “Clearly the prime minister is disappointed by the failure of Spain to remove the additional border checks this weekend.”

“We are now considering what legal action is open to us. This would be an unprecedented step so we want to consider it carefully before a making a decision to pursue.”

Britain and Spain are embroiled in an increasingly tense diplomatic spat over Gibraltar, a tiny self-governing British territory at the southern tip of Spain.