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Gibraltar and Spain in dispute over ‘violation of sovereignty’

MADRID – The Gibraltar summit on Friday accused Spanish customs brokers of “a serious breach of sovereignty and jurisdiction”, claiming they landed on a beach on British territory while chasing smugglers.

Spain’s foreign ministry rejected Gibraltar’s description of the events, “as well as the claims of alleged British sovereignty over the territory and waters of Gibraltar contained therein.”

It also said the officers were injured while chasing down the smugglers.

Madrid and London have been in diplomatic negotiations for years over the post-Brexit future of Gibraltar, on Spain’s southern tip. British sovereignty since the 18th century has been disputed by Spain.

Gibraltar’s Prime Minister Fabian Picardo said agents from Spain’s Customs Surveillance Service landed on the area’s eastern beach on Thursday. In an emailed statement, he called it “a gross violation of British sovereignty and possibly the most serious and dangerous incident for many years”.

Spain’s foreign ministry called his comments “incomprehensible” in light of recent talks about a deal with Britain over Gibraltar’s future.

Picardo said the Gibraltar government was in talks with British officials about a possible diplomatic response.

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