Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Moratinos presses for Nuclear Sub reassurance

Miguel Angel Moratinos, the Spanish Foreign Minister, has reiterated that he expects Britain to provide him with written reassurances in respect of nuclear repairs on submarines at Gibraltar.

Spain expects Britain to state that it will not repair nuclear sections of submarines in Gibraltar.

The call comes in the wake of the HMS Tireless episode and environmentalist lobbying in the Campo.

But only yesterday Commodore Allan Adair, Commander British Forces, denied that Britain would be giving a written assurance to the Spanish Government ruling out future nuclear submarine repairs in Gibraltar.

“Gibraltar is an operational base and although we never plan to carry out nuclear repairs if we had to we would. We would inform interested parties on both sides of the border. Clearly we are not choosing to send nuclear submarines to Gibraltar to annoy a Nato ally, Spain, but for operational reasons,” Commodore Adair told the Chronicle.

Sr Moratinos is quoted as having said that Spain could not stop the visits because of the Treaty of Utrecht but he said that Spanish military observers were to be mobilised to ensure civilian safety. He also reiterated that recovery of sovereignty of Gibraltar remains Spain’s objective.

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