BBC NEWS
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: Monitoring: Media reports  
News Front Page
World
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 26 June, 2002, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
Spanish landing 'no mistake'
Gibraltar skyline
The soldiers landed on the Spanish side of the border

An impromptu landing on a Spanish beach which caused blushes among Britain's Royal Marines earlier this year was no mistake, a leading Spanish newspaper has reported.


The theatrical disembarkation was entirely intentional

Spanish government sources in El Mundo
Twenty heavily armed marines landed at La Linea de la Concepcion - instead of on the British colony of Gibraltar, just across the border.

Spanish government sources have told El Mundo that the landing was a deliberate political point by the British military.

The UK and Spain - which both deny the report - are locked in difficult negotiations over the future sovereignty of Gibraltar.

'Intentional' invasion

In February, the British invasion force stormed onto the beach at La Linea, where they were greeted by two local stunned policeman.

At the time, the British Ministry of Defence said it was an unfortunate accident due to poor weather which had forced a landing craft to drop its troops "a few yards over the Spanish side of the border".


It would be devastating, not only for relations between Madrid but for the much-admired British democracy

El Mundo
Spain apparently played down the incident at the time, accepting the British explanation.

But now Spanish government sources have told El Mundo the landing was no accident.

"(The government) believes that the theatrical disembarkation was entirely intentional, that the Royal Marines probably planned it without the knowledge of the Blair government," a source was quoted as saying .

The sources told El Mundo: "It was absolutely impossible for it to have occurred by chance. Neither the wind or the currents could have taken those vessels to the Spanish beach by 'mistake'."

The paper goes on to say to say that the landing was designed "to send a clear warning to Britain's leaders" that sovereignty over the Rock's military installations - which the military considered crucial to national strategic interests - was not negotiable.

Government denials

"If that were the case, it would be devastating, not only for relations between Madrid but for the much-admired British democracy. Interference by soldiers in the political life of a European nation, at this stage, is incomprehensible," El Mundo says.

The incident happened when talks between UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and his Spanish counterpart Josep Pique aimed at ending the centuries-old dispute over the rock appeared to be making headway.

The UK Ministry of Defence has "rubbished the story" in the Spanish daily, repeating that the incident was an accident, Reuters news agency reports.

And Spanish diplomatic sources told Efe news agency that the government still accepted the version given by the London government.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.


Key stories

Background stories

Viewpoints

Talking Point
See also:

19 Jun 02 | UK Politics
28 May 02 | UK Politics
19 May 02 | Europe
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Media reports stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Media reports stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes