Spanish authorities on Friday called in the British Ambassador to Spain in retaliation for a similar move by UK authorities a day earlier, after a Spanish naval vessel allegedly blocked two commercial UK ships from entering Gibraltar.

Spain accused Britain on Friday of “unacceptable interference” for launching a diplomatic protest over a maritime dispute off the contested British territory of Gibraltar.

It was the latest in a long string of diplomatic skirmishes over the tiny Mediterranean peninsula which has been governed by Britain since 1713 but is claimed by Spain.

Britain summoned Spanish ambassador Federico Trillo on Thursday alleging that a Spanish navy ship on July 16th tried to divert two commercial vessels heading to Gibraltar by wrongly claiming they were in Spanish waters.

The Spanish foreign ministry retaliated by summoning the British ambassador in Madrid, Simon Manley, it said in a statement after the meeting on Friday.

The Spanish ministry insisted the ships had been in Spanish waters and said the Spanish navy acted legally. It criticized London for repeatedly summoning Trillo over Gibraltar in recent months.

“This latest incident represents unacceptable interference by the United Kingdom in the routine activities of the Spanish navy in Spanish waters, especially since none of the vessels was British-flagged,” the statement said.

After the meeting, the UK Ambassador to Spain Simon Manley tweeted the following message… see more

source: thelocal