Saturday, February 05, 2005

La Linea Ayuntamiento rejects British Submarine presence

Alarm in the Campo over sub repairs - PP-PSOE back motion

La Linea Ayuntamiento yesterday passed an emergency motion formally rejecting the presence of the British nuclear submarine HMS Sceptre in Gibraltar. The motion was passed unanimously with the support of the ruling PP and the PSOE opposition during a special plenary session held yesterday. “This is not the first time that something like this happens regardless of the party in power in Madrid. The Spanish Government must intensify its diplomatic protest against this new provocation by Britain,” Mayor Juan Carlos Juarez declared yesterday.

Sr Juarez said that once again La Linea was suffering the consequences of having a British colony next door. He said that these occurrences affected normal cross-border relations with Gibraltar and represented a potential and serious danger both to the population and the environment. He continued:

There was great confusion as to the nature and origin of the fault. The Spanish Government was informed a week ago although it only made an official statement on Thursday, when the faulty submarine had virtually arrived to Gibraltar. We would like to know where the submarine was when the fault was detected and a decision was taken to head for Gibraltar.

Sr Juarez also noted that two weeks ago Chief Minister Peter Caruana publicly declared that no faulty submarines would arrive in Gibraltar ever again. The mayor said:

This incident demonstrates that while Gibraltar can veto agreements with Spain, Spain’s opinion falls on deaf ears in London, which means that once again, Britain has no friends, only ‘interests’, and this is something that we firmly reject. We are still not certain whether the submarine will be in Gibraltar for six days or longer.

La Linea Motion

The motion passed by the La Línea Ayuntamiento proposes the adoption of the following measures:

1.- Demand that the UK Government immediately withdraws the submarine HMS Sceptre and avoid a repetition of these occurrences in the future.

2.- Urge the Spanish Government to constantly press on the UK Government to abandon its policy of sending nuclear vessels to the bay.

3.-Urge the Spanish Government to ensure the presence of Spanish technicians on the submarine so that the Campo can be informed of the true nature of the fault and the repairs

4.- Urge the Spanish Government to immediately notify the Campo area as soon as it receives information of this kind without waiting until the submarine arrives to the area.

5.- Urge the UK Government to take note of the feelings of the people of La Linea who should not have to suffer the environmental consequences of Britian’s defence policies.

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