Aug 30 2013
David Cameron is to meet Fabian Picardo, the chief minister of Gibraltar, at Downing Street to discuss its border dispute with Spain.
The meeting in London comes as police in the British Overseas Territory investigate claims Spanish Guardia Civil officers were pelted with stones by angry commuters being held up at the frontier.
The Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP) said it was investigating the claim that "a small number of missiles" were thrown at Guardia Civil officers carrying out stringent checks on traffic at the border on Wednesday afternoon.
Delays of several hours have continued intermittently in recent weeks, caused by stringent checks imposed by the Spanish during the diplomatic row over an artificial reef sunk off Gibraltar.
The RGP said there were delays of up to two hours for cars crossing into Spain on Thursday night.
An RGP spokesman said it received an "unofficial report" from the Guardia Civil on Wednesday about missiles being thrown at its officers from the motorcycle lane, as well as verbal abuse. "This has allegedly taken place at the peak of extensive queues to exit Gibraltar which at their height reached four hours," he said. "The alleged missile throwing is reported to have come from the area of the motorcycle lane which at the time was full of cross-border workers unable to return home. It came after insults and abusive comments were directed at the Guardia Civil. The RGP is, notwithstanding the number of RGP officers present at the frontier managing the traffic, unable to substantiate the complaint at this time. The matter is under investigation."
Up to 8,000 Spaniards living mainly in the nearby towns of La Linea and Algeciras work in Gibraltar and have been caught up in regular long queues caused by checks imposed as part of a diplomatic spat with Britain.
Mr Picardo's visit to the UK saw him meet with Foreign Secretary William Hague on Wednesday, a meeting he said showed that the UK and Gibraltar governments "remain in lockstep" over the disagreement.
The Spanish say the 74 concrete blocks on the seabed disrupt an area used by its fishing boats, while the Gibraltarians say it was a necessary environmental measure.
The row, which started at the beginning of this month, has gone all the way to the European Commission and continued to simmer in recent days. On Thursday, the Gibraltar government accused Spain of introducing an export ban on construction materials destined for the enclave.