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Gibraltar incursion 'violation of UK sovereignty'

The incursion by a Spanish ship into British waters off Gibraltar is "provocative", "unlawful" and "a violation of our sovereignty", the Europe minister David Lidington has said.

David Lidington was speaking after a Spanish state research trip entered British waters along with a vessel belonging to the Guardia Civil, the part of Spain's police force responsible for protecting the coastline.

According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the waters around Gibraltar are indisputably British territorial waters, under United Kingdom sovereignty, in which only the United Kingdom has the right to exercise jurisdiction.

Her Majesty's Government takes a grave view of any attempt by Spain to exert authority or control within British Gibraltar territorial waters and considers such incursions as a violation of our sovereignty.

I strongly condemn this provocative incursion and urge the Spanish government to ensure that it is not repeated.

Read: Spain ambassador summoned after 'Gibraltar incursion'


Foreign Office advises tourists to stay indoors in Cairo

The Foreign Office has updated its travel advice in light of recent bombings in Egypt surrounding the third anniversary of the 2011 uprising:

25 January is the 3rd anniversary of the 2011 revolution. A number of groups have called for demonstrations to mark the anniversary.

Protests and disruption to travel around the country are likely in the days before and after 25 January.

You are strongly advised to stay inside during this period in Cairo.

Across the country you are also advised to take particular care in the vicinity of government buildings, and to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings.

Read the full advice here

Foreign Office 'on track to miss staff reduction target'

Sir Richard Ottaway, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, has said that the Foreign Office is not on track to cut the number of UK-based staff by 10% by the original target of 2015.

It's actually had to increase staff in order to cope with policy demands, and it's not on track to meet its target of a 10% headcount reduction in UK-based staff by 2015.

What we're saying is: be realistic, live within your means, and make sure that priorities are clearly defined.

– Sir Richard Ottaway, chairman, Foreign Affairs Select Committee

But MPs concluded that it was on course to make savings totalling approximately £170 million over the Spending Review period to 2014/15.


Foreign Office is 'being stretched almost to the limit'

There are signs that the FCO is being stretched, almost to the limit. One of the symptoms is the prospect that the department will need an extra year to meet its target of a 10% headcount reduction in UK-based staff, largely because of 'sustained pressure to deliver an ambitious policy agenda'.

We believe the department may be in danger of trying to do too much at a time when capacity is being limited. A more realistic approach by the department and by ministers is needed, as well as a clearer definition of priorities.

We conclude that in future the department will need to attach greater importance to living within its means and will need to recognise that there are limits to what it can take on.

– Foreign Affairs Select Committee report

Read: MPs warn Foreign Office to 'live within its means'

MPs warn Foreign Office to 'live within its means'

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has been warned to "live within its means" and to be more "realistic" about what it can achieve at a time of cuts to Government spending.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in central London
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in central London Credit: Johnny Green/PA

MPs on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee said the department was being "stretched almost to the limit" as it tries to make £170 million in savings up to 2015 while maintaining a large workload.

"We believe the department may be in danger of trying to do too much at a time when capacity is being limited," the MPs said.

They mentioned the demands placed on the FCO "at a time of particular turbulence in the Middle East and elsewhere" as well as by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Foreign Office: 'We stand ready to help' blast victims

The Foreign Office says it "stands ready to help" British nationals who have been injured in a poolside bar at a hotel in Adeje, on the Spanish island of Tenerife.

We are aware of reports of an incident involving British nationals and are talking to local authorities. We stand ready to help if needed.

– Spokeswoman for the Foreign Office

UK envoy condemns 'cowardly assassination' in Beirut

The British ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher has paid tribute to the former Lebanese minister killed in a blast in Beirut and condemned his "cowardly assassination"


Mohamad Chatah was a wise, tolerant, smart patriot. His courage not that he knew risks but that he believed Lebanon worth taking them for.


2/2 We condemn his cowardly assassination. Determined to honour his memory by support to justice, rule of law and stability for Lebanon.


At tense points, my 1st call to Mohamad Chatah. Was always in mix, looking for constructive path. Should not let them kill that moderation.

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