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Britain threatens action over Gibraltar

| Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, 10:12 p.m.

LONDON — In an escalating spat with Spain over Gibraltar, the tiny British-ruled promontory at the tip of the Iberian peninsula, Britain is considering legal action to confirm its sovereignty over the territory known as The Rock.

A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday that the British leader was disappointed in talks last week with his Spanish counterpart, Mariano Rajoy, and diplomatic exchanges between the two countries' foreign ministers.

According to reports of the daily briefing to parliamentary correspondents, Cameron was “disappointed by the failure of the Spanish to remove the additional border checks this weekend, and we are now considering what legal action is open to us. This would be an unprecedented step; we want to consider it carefully before making a decision to pursue.”

The row has resuscitated long-standing rancor over what many Spaniards view as a vestige of colonialism, though British sovereignty was recognized by the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. The clash was sparked by the British decision to place concrete blocks off the coast of Gibraltar to protect fishing reserves from the Spanish practice of trawling the sea floor, prompting Spanish outrage.

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