Archive for Spain
Prime Minister David Cameron said Spain has given its assurance that there will be no repeat of an incident in which officials at the border with Gibraltar opened British diplomatic bags. “It’s an extremely serious action that took place” and a breach of international conventions, Cameron said during his weekly question-and-answer session in Parliament today. “We will always stand up for the rights of the people of Gibraltar and the sovereignty of Gibraltar.” The Foreign Office in London said that the British embassy in Madrid had lodged a formal complaint over the incident with the Spanish authorities. Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said the official U.K. papers intercepted were not in a diplomatic bag, so there was no breach of international law, El Pais reported today. Foreign Office minister David Lidington told the House of Commons that the opening of two “clearly marked” bags was a breach of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations and the principle of state immunity. He rejected calls from lawmakers to expel the Spanish ambassador in London. Spain says the opening of the bags at a crossing point between Gibraltar and Spain was an error at a “junior operational level,” he said. Tension over Gibraltar has increased in recent months after Spain stepped up border controls.
China’s foreign ministry summoned Spain’s ambassador to Beijing following a Spanish court ruling that called for the arrest of former Chinese leaders including two of its former presidents. The former Chinese leaders named in the ruling could face arrest when travelling to or through the countries that are signatories to the universal justice principle of Spain. China expressed its displeasure over the Spanish court’s orders to issue arrest warrants to former Chinese leaders including retired Presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Beijing strongly opposes the court’s move and warned of damages in the two sides’ ties. Spain’s diplomatic sources say China had expressed its “deep unease” over the judgement in the meeting with the ambassador, a source added. The court’s decision follows lengthy proceedings which started in 2005, when Tibetan activist groups asked the court to hold seven Chinese leaders responsible for crimes against humanity committed by the Chinese government in Tibet.
Spain says the US ambassador has given his assurances that the US National Security Agency’s activities in the country are carried out in conjunction with Spain’s intelligence agency and in accordance with Spanish law. In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said US Ambassador James Costos told Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo on Friday that NSA spying in Spain is always done for security reasons like combatting terrorism. It said Costos said the spying was never for economic reasons. It was not clear if Costos was referring to NSA activities now or in the past.
North Korea is expected to open an embassy in Spain, a media report said Thursday. According to a report by Radio Free Asia, Madrid’s foreign ministry recently gave North Korea the green light to set up a diplomatic mission there. The embassy will be set up at the Aravaca ward in the capital city, with Pyongyang already having signed a lease for the space, the Washington-based broadcaster said, citing local sources. North Korea established diplomatic relations with Spain in 2001.
At a press conference in Brussels, Mariano Rajoy said that the Government of Spain has no record that Spain has been the subject of spying by the US National Security Agency so information will continue to be gathered from the ambassador on what may have taken place. The reports published on spying in the statements was an issue tackled by the Heads of State at the European Council, said Mariano Rajoy, who added that “our legal system, just like other international instruments, clearly regulates the right to privacy of communication for all citizens”. “Acts of espionage have no place in relations between partner countries and allies. Spain and the US are friends and allies, who wish to maintain bilateral relations that are as close as possible”, he said.
The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned on Tuesday the “Catalonia supporting” ambassadors of Latvia and Lithuania. Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo called Latvian ambassador to Spain Janis Echemanis and Lithuania’s ambassador to Spain Audra Plepyte on account of their supporting demands by Spain’s Catalonia region for independence. Margallo expressed Spain’s reactions against the issue, reminding of the Spanish constitution and the entrance rules to the European Union (EU). “No opinion to support Catalonia’s independence has been stated, the Spanish media has falsified the statements,” the governments of Latvia and Lithuania said in a written statement.
The Spanish Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned US Charge d’Affaires Luis G. Moreno and demanded “clarifications” for a report, carried by Der Spiegel, that Spain was a target of secret surveillance by the Nation Security Agency (NSA). During his meeting with the ministry’s deputy director for North American policy Luis Calvo, the US diplomat understood the “given reasons and concerns expressed” by Calvo, according to Spanish state TV station. Moreno promised to try to find obtain more information and provide them to the Spanish government. Moreno leads the US diplomatic mission in Spain since the end of the tenure of Ambassador Alan Solomont on June 13. On its English website, the German national daily newspaper reported that Spain is one of the US top spying targets, along with Germany, France, Italy and Japan. The report cited documents leaked by former CIA analyst Edward Snowden on the intelligence targets of the NSA.