Donald Trump BACKS BRITAIN in Gibraltar dispute with Spain


DONALD Trump’s defence chief invited the Spanish defence minister to the Pentagon last week to discuss the ISIS crisis.

The US President is believed to be shoring up his military and defence capabilities in Spain as he focusses on his plan to tackle terrorism.

In February, Mr Trump announced a $54billion (£43 billion) surge in defence spending as he gets set to travel to Europe in May to hold crunch North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) talks.

And he is said to be supportive of the rights of citizens living in Gibraltar after the EU tried to intervene on their sovereignty over Brexit.

US secretary of defence James Mattis held talks with his British counterpart Michael Fallon in London yesterday.

A source told “The special relationship between the UK and US remains in tact.

“The fact is that everyone can agree, including Spain, that at the moment there’s bigger issues than that of Gibraltar which is a NATO hub.

“What the EU is trying to enforce in relation to Gibraltar is against international law and it won’t even get over the starting blocks”.

Mr Fallon issued a statement following Mr Mattis’ fleeting trip to London.

He said: “Our defence relationship with the US is unprecedented in its depth and scope.

“As we leave the EU, our bilateral relationships matter more than ever, so we’ll be enhancing our cooperation and investing more in our joint F-35 fast jet programme.”

However Mr Mattis came to the UK at a time when Spain’s military sites have become of strategic importance in the battle with ISIS who have a strong hold in North African countries, including Libya.

Mr Mattis’ trip to London came days after he invited his Spanish counterpart Defence Minister María Dolores de Cospeda to Washington.

Mrs Cospeda said the talks were successful adding: “The United States and Spain have a clear commitment to the fight against jihadist terrorism.”

The UK is working with the US and Spanish military in joint operations to tackle to evolving threats from ISIS.

Relations between the Spanish and British armies are positive with both countries undertaking operations together.

The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, also known as The Tigers have trained with the Spanish Regiment, 62 Regimento de Cazadores de Montana in recent years.

Two years ago Spain signed an agreement with the US allowing it to make its presence at a military base in southwest of the country permanent.

The air base can station up to 3,000 troops while its naval base which was established in 1953, is a strategic hub.

Mr Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed the president will travel to Brussels, Belgium, on May 25 for a meeting of NATO heads of state.

Top of the agenda will be the threat posed to European member states including Greece, Spain, Italy and France by terrorists and people smugglers.

UKIP defence spokesman Bill Etheridge said that “Gibraltar is strategically important for the UK militarily which means it is strategically important for the USA because of NATO.

“The EU is completely overstepping itself trying to ape the UN with its farcical demands to dictate relationships between the UK and Spain: it does not have the power to redraw international boundaries or dictate trade deals for the UK.

“It cannot undo international treaties from the 1700s and it is very much mistaken if it believes that it is more important than the UK-US alliance.

“Trump believes in sovereignty which is anathema to the EU and he also grasps the importance of the global staging post for the Royal Navy’s global military operations.

“May and Johnson need to be much firmer with the EU on security and defence: we contribute much more to Europe’s security being part of Five Eyes”. contacted the Pentagon who declined to comment.

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