Dispute between Britain and Spain over Gibraltar heats up

Aug. 13, 2013 at 11:59 AM

GIBRALTAR, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- A Gibraltar official is accusing the Spanish government of using a dispute with Britain to divert attention from Spain's domestic problems.

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told Britain's Sky News Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is trying to make people lose focus on problems at home the same way Argentina did by invading the Falkland Islands in 1982.

Tensions between London and Madrid over the creation of an artificial reef by Gibraltar prompted Spain to impose border checks that resulted in long lines for those wishing to enter Spain.

Downing Street said it is drawing up plans for legal action over what it called "politically motivated" controls.

The European Commission plans to send a team of investigators to the border in the next few weeks to investigate following complaints from several members of the European Parliament and EU citizens.

Adding to the tension, three Royal Navy warships have set sail for the Mediterranean in what British defense officials said was a long-scheduled deployment.

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