Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Junta to raise submarine issue in Parliament

The Junta de Andalucia has called on the central Spanish Government in Madrid to raise the issue of nuclear submarines at the next session of the tripartite forum, due to take place next week in Palma de Mallorca.

The Junta is urging Madrid to ask the British Government to cease visits by such vessels to the Rock.

Spokesman Enrique Cervera told reporters that the Junta was “tired and fed up” with the presence of nuclear submarines in Gibraltar, which he said created “unease” in the local community.

He said the arrival of HMS Turbulent this week, which follows last week’s visit by HMS Trenchant, meant “the situation has worsened notably”.

The issue was not discussed at the last tripartite talks in Faro, Portugal, though it was raised by Spanish journalists during the post-talks press conference.

Dominick Chilcott, the top Foreign Office official at the forum, said at the time that the matter was one for bilateral discussions between Spain and the UK.

“We want to make sure that what we do does not cut across important consideration for our Ministry of Defence but we also want to arrive at a satisfactory outcome for all concerned,” he told reporters in Faro.

This is not going to be done quickly but I am confident that we are on the way to arriving at a satisfactory arrangement, although we are not quite there yet.”

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