Fury after beautiful holiday island tipped to get NATO naval base in ‘unacceptable’ move | World | News

Speculation surrounding the possibility of a naval base in the Balearic Islands becoming Spain‘s third NATO naval headquarters was met with fierce opposition.

Spanish daily El Pais reported on March 29 sources claiming the Maó Naval Station (in Spanish, Mahón) in the east of the island of Menorca had become one of the three bases offering logistical support to NATO ships operating in the Mediterranean.

This report sparked the fury of the leader of the Podemos party, Ione Belarra, who taking to X claimed: “The NATO military bases in Spain not only represent an unacceptable transfer of sovereignty, they are also playing a key role in US support for the genocide that Israel is committing against the Palestinian people.”

Ms Belarra wasn’t the only politician to hit out in these controversial terms at Tel Aviv’s war in Gaza, started after Hamas carried out an unprecedented terror attack in southern Israel.

Upon rejecting the idea of Mahón becoming a NATO base, the general secretary of the Communist Party of Spain, Enrique Santiago, said: “Less preparing for wars and more politics for peace. Neither Spain nor Europe can be the battlefield for the imperial interests of the United States, the power that allows the genocide in Palestine. Any NATO base in the Balearic Islands will be used to support Israel.”

Podemos is a party on the left of the ruling Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, led by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

Opposition to Menorca becoming home to a NATO naval base also came from the general coordinator of the local party Més per Menorca, Josep Juaneda, as reported by the Majorca Daily Bulletin.

He said: “The current geopolitical threats will not be solved by promoting rearmament policies or favouring violence, but by committing to dialogue and international harmony.”

The furore sparked by the El Pais report prompted the Spanish Defence Ministry to say it isn’t contemplating Mahón becoming a NATO naval HQ.

In a statement, the Ministry said, “there is no provision for the Balearic territory to become a naval base for the organisation, beyond its current role as a specific port of call for the Alliance’s permanent fleets”.

Spain is already home to two NATO bases, Rota in Cadiz and Cartagena in Murcia.

The Spanish government offered Mahón to NATO as a “port with permanent diplomatic authorisation” in April last year, El Pais wrote, in order for allied ships taking part in Operation Sea Guardian – a maritime security operation launched in July 2016 – to dock and anchor.

Mahón is located at the centre of the Western Mediterranean Sea and has disused underground tunnels as well as large fuel tanks and water cisterns already at the base, making it an ideal candidate for a NATO base.

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