The UK government has described as “illegal incursion” the entrance by a Spanish Guardia Civil vessel into British territorial waters around Gibraltar, local media reported.
The incident is said to have happened on Sunday when the Guardia Civil vessel strayed into the territorial waters and an officer onboard the vessel fired a weapon.
In a statement, Europe Minister David Lidington, strongly condemned the incident, saying that he had sought assurance from his Spanish counterpart that action would be taken to ensure there was no repeat of the incident.
“I spoke today with Spanish minister for the European Union, Inigo Mendez de Vigo, in order to protest in the strongest terms following an incident on June 23 in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW). During an illegal incursion by a Guardia Civil vessel, a Guardia Civil officer fired a weapon,” he said.
“I made clear that the discharge of a weapon in or near Gibraltar is completely unacceptable. I urged Senor Mendez de Vigo to investigate urgently and to take action to ensure that this will not happen again.”
Britain and Spain are at loggerheads over which country has sovereignty over the island that has been occupied and claimed by the UK government. Britain considers Gibraltar and the Malvinas Islands, off Argentina as its territory, but the claims are not recognized by both Spanish and Argentines.
Lidington said he also instructed the British charge d’affaires in Madrid to protest in person to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to demand a full explanation.
The incident is understood to have involved a chase by the Guardia Civil vessel which pursed a Gibraltarian jet ski into British Gibraltar territorial waters.
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