THE British Government has turned down a request from Gibraltar for a greater military presence based in the waters around the Rock.
Gibraltar chief minister Fabian Picardo was keen for more Royal Navy ships to be based in Gibraltar in order to deter Spanish incursions into British waters, claiming the current situation is a threat to British sovereignty.
However, the British government said: “Although the incursions can be seen as a violation of sovereignty, they could not be considered as threatening.”
The disputed waters have been the cause of much of the tension between Gibraltar and Spain and – from a Gibraltar point of view – have seen numerous incursions by Spanish navy vessels and Guardia Civil in the past. Gibraltar and Spain both claim sovereignty over the waters.
Following the visit to Gibraltar of British Defence Minister Michael Fallon last week, the two governments have agreed to share future costs in terms of defence infrastructure and a public tender was announced for the re-tarmacing of the Gibraltar runway, with work due to start next summer.