No progress has been made in the ongoing diplomatic dispute between Spain and the UK, according to David Cameron.
The prime minister met with his Spanish counterpart last week during the G20 Summit in St Petersburg hoping to bring an end to tensions between the two countries, sparked by a fishing dispute over waters surrounding the British overseas territory of Gibraltar.
After reporting to MPs following on the meeting in Russia, Cameron took a question from Tory MP Philip Hollobone, who asked: “Did you manage to collar a representative from Spain and have a word with him about Gibraltar and a representative from Argentina and have a word about the Falklands and make it clear to both that these territories are British and will remain so?"
Cameron said: "On the issue of Gibraltar, I did meet the Spanish Prime Minister to try and look at issues where we can try and de-escalate the war of words that has taken place. We haven't made any progress. We should continue not only to defend absolutely to the hilt Gibraltar's right to decide its own future but also we want to see good and strong relations in the region as well."
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Separately, Europe Minister David Lidington described recent reports from Spain that the government was preparing a wide range of measures against Gibraltar as "concerning". But he said "the British Government will respond to actions, not rhetoric".
In a written parliamentary answer, he said: "We have made clear to Spain that their unlawful actions are disproportionate and unacceptable.
"We have repeatedly expressed our desire to find a diplomatic solution acceptable to Spain while reaffirming our commitment to upholding the rights and interests of the UK and of Gibraltar. At the same time, Spain and the UK have a strong bilateral relationship from which both countries greatly benefit. We want to return to diplomatic means to find our way through the current tensions."Suggest a correction