Spain, EU slam Morocco
Spain and the European Union protested Friday after a dozen Moroccan soldiers landed on a tiny uninhabited Spanish island in the Mediterranean and raised two Moroccan flags.
The 12 soldiers landed on Perejil island just off the Moroccan coast Thursday. The island, which is a half-mile in diameter, has belonged to Spain since 1668, but is claimed by Morocco. It lies about five kilometers away from Ceuta, one of two Spanish city enclaves along Morocco's northern coast.
Describing the occupation as "an act of hostility," Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said, "We ask where the Moroccan government wants to go with its relations with Spain?"
EU spokesman Gunnar Wiegand called the invasion "a serious incident." "It is clearly a violation of Spanish territory," said Wiegand. "But at the moment it is a matter between Spain and Morocco."
According to AP, Spain sent a letter of protest to the Moroccan embassy in Madrid calling for abidance by the bilateral 1991 friendship accord.
Rajoy said three Spanish Civil Guard marine patrols had been dispatched and were monitoring the situation. He also said security had been stepped up at Spain's possessions in the zone after Moroccan forces were seen around some of the other islands.
A high-ranking Foreign Ministry official in Morocco was quoted by Morocco's official news agency, MAP, as saying a surveillance post was established on the island as part of Morocco's fight against terrorism and illegal immigrant trafficking. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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