TERRITORIAL RIFT

Spain and UK call for definitive Gibraltar fishing talks

After a standoff, foreign ministers scale down international tension into “local” dispute

Spanish and British officials on Tuesday encouraged fishermen from La Línea to continue their dialogue with Gibraltar authorities over fishing rights in areas claimed by the British territory.

Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo met with his British counterpart William Hague in London on Tuesday, where both said they agreed that the Gibraltar issue shouldn't tarnish bilateral relations.

“The governments of Spain and the United Kingdom urge the parties concerned – that is to say, the government of Gibraltar and the fishermen of La Línea and Algeciras – to reach a satisfactory agreement and allow our boats to work where they have always been able to work,” García-Margallo said after the meeting, which took place in Carlton Gardens, an official residence of the Foreign Office near Buckingham Palace.

For his part, Hague described the dispute as a “local” issue.

Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said legislation prohibits fishing boats from using the trawling method in the area, adding that the traditional long-line method is acceptable. Several tense moments were seen last week when fishermen went out to trawl in waters near the territory.

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