Spain and Morocco are engaged in a major diplomatic confrontation following the occupation by Moroccan soldiers of a small uninhabited Spanish island just off the North African coast.

The European Union has condemned the Moroccan occupation of Perejil Island, which is located near the Spanish North African enclave of Ceuta, in the Strait of Gibraltar.

The Moroccans say they want a presence on the island as part of the country's efforts to discourage illegal immigration from North Africa to Europe.

Spain is reinforcing its military presence on other nearby islands.