Archive for Spain
Spain’s ambassador to Britain was summoned to the Foreign Office today and rebuked for his county’s “wholly disproportionate” checks on vehicles entering Gibraltar. Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire demanded assurances there would be no repeat of last week’s checks, which saw thousands of motorists kept in line for seven hours in sweltering heat. The dressing down comes two days after Express Online revealed the British Government was asking Spain to investigate why trucks carrying concrete were prevented from entering Gibraltar by its border officials. Mr Swire said: “From July 26 to July 28, and again on July 30, there were long delays at the Gibraltar-Spain border of up to seven hours, as a result of wholly disproportionate checks introduced by the Spanish authorities on vehicles both leaving and entering Gibraltar. “The UK Government’s position is that these delays are unjustified, unacceptable and have no place at a border between EU partners.”
Bolivian ambassadors to Spain, France and Italy will return to their posts next August 2. The ambassadors to Spain, Carmen Almendares; Italy, Antolin Ayaviri; and France Jean Paul Guevara, returned to La Paz after the mentioned countries banned the overflight and operations of Evo Morales aircraft on July 2, when he was returning from Moscow, Russia, where he attended the Forum of Gas Exporting Countries. The presidential aircraft had to make an emergency landing in Vienna, Austria, where it remained 15 hours before receiving permission to return flight to Bolivia. During that time, the Spanich ambassador to Austria, Alberto Carnero, insisted more than once in checking the presidential plane to be sure that there was not aboard the U.S. former agent Edward Snowden, wanted by Washington and exiled in Moscow.
U.S. and British citizens are amongst the people injured in the derailment of a train in the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia, the U.S. and British embassies in Madrid said. “We are currently gathering information about the accident and are in touch with families of some injured American Citizens,” said U.S. Charge d’Affaires a.i. Luis G. Moreno in a written statement posted on the U.S. embassy website. A spokesman for the British embassy said he was aware of one British national being injured. He declined to give further details on the injured Briton’s condition.
The Bolivian government ” temporarily” recalled its ambassadors to Spain, France and Italy to protest those countries’ refusal earlier this month to allow Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane to enter their airspace, a top official said. “Recalling the ambassadors is a decision that was taken within the framework of the summit of the Southern Common Market ( Mercosur), the bloc that decided to call all its ambassadors to those nations, to protest what happened to President Morales,” Bolivian Communications Minister Amanda Davila told reporters. Mercosur nations, including Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and Uruguay, gathered after Morales’ plane was denied access to those countries’ airspace on July 2 to condemn the European nations for violating international laws on presidential immunity. The minister however said the move did not mean Bolivia was breaking off diplomatic relations with the European countries. President Morales met Friday with ambassador Jean Pol Guevara to France, Carmen Almendras to Spain, and Antolin Ayaviri to Italy. Morales s plane was denied access to those countries on rumors that the plane was carrying US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden. It made an emergency landing in Vienna, Austria. All the European nations have offered apologies, though none have officially explained their actions, as Bolivia has demanded.
Spain has apologized to Bolivia for its parts in the recent incident, in which Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane was forbidden to fly over some European countries on the rumors that US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden was onboard. Ambassador Angel Vazquez delivered on Monday the official apology to the Bolivian Foreign Ministry in La Paz. Varquez gave a statement acknowledging an “apology for the obstacle and the hardships caused to the president.” France, Spain, Portugal and Italy all refused to allow Morales’ plane, which was flying home on July 2 from Moscow, to cross their airspace. The presidential plane was forced to land in Vienna, Austria where it was searched by authorities on false rumors that US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden was on board. The Bolivian Foreign Ministry accused the Europeans of bowing to US pressure when it banned Morales’ plane. After the incident, Morales revealed that Spain’s ambassador to Austria had tried to conduct a search of the aircraft. The incident also caused strong condemnation from several countries in Latin American, including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who called it a “provocation” that concerned” all of Latin America.” Meanwhile, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia have all offered asylum to Snowden, who is holed up at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport since June 23, when he landed in Russia from Hong Kong.
US Marines are being sent to Spain as part of a new rapid reaction force that will respond to threats against US citizens, government personnel, or installations in Africa. In all, 500 Marines will be part of the new task force, which is based at Moron Air Base in southern Spain. The base will give the task force easy access to northern Africa, where security concerns have grown since the September 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Deployment for the new unit began on Wednesday. When it is fully operational, the unit will be airborne within six hours of receiving orders. They will provide the kind of response that the Pentagon stated was not available last September. The Marine unit’s duty in Spain will be to protect embassies and diplomatic compounds under attack or receiving threats. The group will also protect US citizens, rescue downed pilots, and assist with other elements of the US military if they need to evacuate American citizens for any reason. The team will be in place in 30 days. It is expected to include 225 Marines equipped for ground combat, along with intelligence and communications specialists. Another 225 personnel will man the six V-22 Osprey aircraft, along with two C-130 refueling aircraft. The Marines in Spain will be equipped to go into areas that have combat conditions. They can also be deployed without a local government’s permission if they are ordered to do so. They will have grenade launchers, machine guns, and mortars in their possession. The new unit is part of the Marine Corps’ efforts to beef up security around embassies. In doing so, the military branch is also adding 1,000 Marines to the embassy guard force. The new numbers will nearly double the size of the existing force. There will also be a special team of 100 Marines in the United States that can fly quickly to an area to back up embassy guards.
The Iranian ambassador to Madrid says Spain has released an employee of Iran’s Embassy who was detained on ‘unfounded’ allegations of espionage. Morteza Saffari said that the Iranian Embassy had worked for the release of Mr. Rezaeian, who was arrested by the police. The Iranian envoy added that no other employee of the embassy had been arrested. The Spanish Interior Ministry said police had arrested three men, including a staff member of the Iranian Embassy, in Madrid on suspicion of involvement in espionage. Saffari stated that allegations of having links to a spying network leveled against the employee were “unfounded and false.”
A Spanish citizen kidnapped last week in Colombia has been released, a Spanish Embassy spokesman said. Rafael Molina Correa, who has lived in the South American country for several years, had been kidnapped on Thursday. The Spanish Embassy in Bogota had initially said that Molina Correa was abducted on Nov. 7, but the information turned out to be incorrect. It is not known who kidnapped Molina Correa, the Spanish Embassy spokesman said. The El Pais newspaper in Cali, a city in southwestern Colombia, reported that the Spaniard was kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group. The kidnappers originally demanded that Molina Correa’s family pay 50 million pesos ($27,000), but they later cut the ransom by more than half and finally released him without getting any money, the Spanish Embassy spokesman said.
British Foreign Office said it had summoned the Spanish ambassador to lodge a formal complaint about the recent incursions by Spanish navy and customs ships into waters around the British territory of Gibraltar. According to the Foreign office, Spanish ambassador to London, Federico Trillo, was summoned by Permanent Under Secretary of State Simon Fraser to hear Britain’s complaint about the Spanish incursions. Separately, Britain’s Minister for Europe David Lidington said in a statement issued that Spanish state vessels had made two “serious incursions” into Gibraltar’s waters earlier this week. According to Lidington, a Spanish naval vessel had patrolled Gibraltarian waters for several hours on Tuesday. He added that a Spanish customs vessel had attempted later on Tuesday to seize a civilian boat off Gibraltar’s coast, prompting a Royal Gibraltar patrol boat to intervene.
The U.S. ambassador to Spain paid tribute to the Spanish national soccer team during the embassy’s Fourth of July party. In remarks before the more than 1,000 invited guests, Alan Solomont and wife Susan emphasized Spain’s “historic” triumph in Sunday’s 2012 European Championship final. “Viva la Roja” (Long live the Red) the ambassador exclaimed as he displayed a red national team jersey. In addition to praising the Spanish soccer squad, Solomont emphasized the excellent diplomatic relations that prevail between Spain and the United States. The envoy acknowledged the “difficult times” through which the Spanish economy is passing, but he also expressed a message of hope for the future. “Spain’s best days are yet to come,” Solomont declared in Spanish.