Aug 30 2013
Britain "will always stand up for Gibraltar" and its people, David Cameron has said.
The Prime Minister said the interests of the population of the British Overseas Territory "matters to us deeply" as he held talks with Fabian Picardo, its chief minister, at Downing Street.
The meeting to discuss the ongoing border dispute with Spain came as Spanish police unions organised a protest at the border over injuries reportedly inflicted on a Guardia Civil officer by a Gibraltar-registered car.
There have been reports of increasing violence at the border in recent days as angry commuters face long queues to get to homes in Andalusia.
Mr Cameron told Mr Picardo: "Britain will always stand up for Gibraltar. We will always stand up for the interests of the people who live in Gibraltar. It is something that matters to us very deeply."
Mr Picardo thanked him, saying: "The people of Gibraltar know they have a friend in David Cameron and a friend in William Hague. That Gibraltar continues to be on your mind means a lot to us."
Mr Picardo's visit to the UK also saw him meet with Foreign Secretary William Hague on Wednesday to discuss the row with Spain over an artificial reef built off the coast of the enclave.
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. Delays of several hours have continued at the frontier and have led to claims of violence against Spanish police and Guardia Civil officers.
A protest at the border on Friday was organised by the Sindicato Unificado de Policia and Asociacion Unificada de Guardias Civiles unions. In a joint statement they called on the Spanish government to "defend their interests and support them in their work using all the resources at their disposal".