World Bulletin / News Desk
Spain may take its row with Britain over the disputed territory of Gibraltar to the United Nations, stepping up its actions in the conflict, El Pais newspaper reported on Sunday, citing diplomatic sources.
Centuries of friction over Gibraltar, a British overseas territory to which Spain lays claim, flared up this month after Spain complained that an artificial reef being built by Gibraltar would block its fishing vessels.
The sources did not specify whether Spain would ask the United Nations to back a request for Britain to give up sovereignty or adhere to certain agreements, but taking the matter to international courts would mark a change of tack and increase tensions.
Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manual Garcia-Margallo will also take advantage of a September trip to Argentina, which is serving a term on the U.N. Security Council, to seek its support against Britain over Gibraltar, the sources told the newspaper.
Argentina is immersed in its own dispute with Britain over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.
Aside from the Security Council, Spain could also take the matter to the U.N. General Assembly or the International Court of Justice, it said.
A Spanish foreign ministry official said he could not immediately comment on Spain's plans to seek U.N. involvement in Gibraltar, which was also reported on Sunday by right-leaning Spanish newspaper La Razon.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy threatened unilateral measures over the spat on Friday, while British navy vessels were heading to Gibraltar for what both Spain and Britain have played down as a routine, scheduled visit.
Rajoy and his British counterpart David Cameron had agreed to try and calm tempers over the disputed territory, though both sides have been reluctant to back down on their positions.
Gibraltar, the tiny rocky promontory near the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, has been a source of on-off tensions since Spain ceded the territory to Britain in the Treaty of Utrecht 300 years ago.
The latest dispute arose last month when Gibraltar's boats dumped concrete blocks into the sea to create a reef for fish at the mouth of the Mediterranean.
Spain said the reef would restrict its fishing boats and hit back with tougher border checks and threats of a 50-euro fee for people crossing the Gibraltar border. It is not clear whether such a fee would be legal under EU law.
In an interview on Spanish television on Saturday, Margallo said the entry fee would not be imposed on workers who frequently cross the border for their jobs and pledged aid to the fishermen whose livelihood is being hit by the reef.
Travellers as well as residents of both Spain and Gibraltar continued to endure long queues at the border over the weekend due to Spanish authorities' increased checks on vehicles entering and leaving the territory.Last Mod: 11 Ağustos 2013, 15:11