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Mi General
MI.Net Member
Feb 29, 2004
The British nuclear-powered submarine Tireless yesterday caused yet another diplomatic spat with Spain as it prepared to return to Gibraltar, three years after spending a whole year there while major emergency repairs were carried out.

The British ambassador, Stephen Wright, was called in by the foreign ministry in Madrid yesterday to explain why, despite appeals that Tireless should stay far from Spanish waters, the Royal Navy was sending it back to the Rock tomorrow.

Britain was accused of showing "a lack of sensitivity to Spanish public opinion" as Spain's foreign ministry warned of a new "negative point" in relations between the two countries.

The foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, yesterday called the visit "a fresh provocation by the British admiralty."

Four years ago, demonstrations of up to 60,000 people were held at the fence separating Gibraltar from Spain when Tireless limped into port for emergency repairs to its leaking nuclear-powered engine's cooling system.

Despite assurances that repairs would not take long, Tireless remained in Gibraltar for a year.

When Tireless finally left port in May 2001, the then Spanish foreign minister said he had been assured that the installations where the repair was carried out would be dismantled.

A British embassy spokesman in Madrid said yesterday that Tireless, which had visited the US, France, Bermuda and Norway in recent years, would make a "short visit" as part of a "routine, operational programme".

Source: Modoracle