Britain has condemned what it called "provocative incursions"
into waters around the British territory of Gibraltar by
Spanish navy and customs ships, and summoned Spain's
ambassador to express its concern.
In response Spain's Foreign Ministry said it had summoned the
British ambassador in Madrid at almost exactly the same time
to express concerns over recent events regarding its fishing
boats in waters close to Gibraltar.
The spat is part of a long-running dispute over Gibraltar, a
peninsula in southern Spain ceded to the British in 1713.
Britain's Minister for Europe David Lidington noted two
"serious incursions" into Gibraltar's waters on Tuesday
"The UK has repeatedly made diplomatic protests to Spain over
attempts by Spanish state authorities to exercise
jurisdiction in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters,"
Lidington said in a statement.
"I condemn these provocative incursions and urge the Spanish
government to ensure that they are not repeated," he said.
British Foreign Office Permanent Under Secretary Simon Fraser
summoned Spanish Ambassador Federico Trillo, the Foreign
In May both countries agreed to work towards a solution to
end months of skirmishes between the British territory's
police and Spanish fishermen.
Earlier this year, Spain accused Gibraltar police of chasing
its fishermen from Spanish waters and deployed Civil Guard
officers to protect their boats.
Gibraltar and Britain said the police were enforcing fishing
laws within their waters.
A spokesman for Spain's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it
would continue to protect the rights of its fishermen in the
bay close to Gibraltar. It said it had summoned British
Ambassador Giles Paxman.
Spain's Queen Sofia pulled out of a lunch to celebrate the
diamond jubilee of Britain's Queen Elizabeth earlier this
year as the dispute escalated.
Spain's centre-right government led by Mariano Rajoy has
taken a strong line on Gibraltar, which houses traditional
British red phone boxes, pubs and fish and chip shops.