Tuesday. 05.07.2022
CONFLICT

EU rebukes Algeria over dispute with Spain over Western Sahara

The Polisario Front movement is striving for an independent state in Western Sahara and is supported by Algeria. Morocco's claim has not yet been recognized internationally
HANDOUT - 09 June 2022, Algeria, Algiers: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (L) is received by President of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune (R) at the government palace in Algiers. Photo: Zurimar Campos/Prensa Miraflores/dpa - ACHTUNG: Nur zur redaktionellen Verwendung und nur mit vollständiger Nennung des vorstehenden Credits.
President of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune (R) received Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the government palace in Algiers. Photo: Zurimar Campos/Prensa Miraflores/dpa.

The European Union has sharply criticized Algeria for suspending a friendship agreement with Spain.

The move is "of utmost concern" and may violate the association agreement between the North African country and the EU, particularly in the areas of trade and investment, according to a joint communiqué by EU foreign affairs envoy Josep Borrell and trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis.

The document, published on Friday, calls on the government in Algiers to "rapidly clarify the situation."

Following Spain's concession to Morocco in the dispute over Western Sahara, Algeria had suspended the bilateral agreement and ordered the national banking association to refrain from commercial transactions with the southern European country.

Bank transfers for imports from and exports to Spain have been banned since Thursday. However, gas deliveries are not affected, said Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. Algeria is Spain's most important gas supplier.

Meanwhile, Spanish Presidential Minister Félix Bolaños expressed confidence that relations with Algeria would soon be restored "by all diplomatic means."

Autonomous province

The Spanish government had conceded in March that Western Sahara could be an autonomous province under Moroccan sovereignty, as proposed by Morocco.

Madrid also announced a little later the beginning of a "new phase" in relations with Morocco that would be based on mutual respect and would ensure the stability and territorial integrity of both countries.

Western Sahara, claimed by Morocco, was a Spanish colony until 1975. After Spain's withdrawal, Morocco annexed parts of the territory. Rabat has since controlled large parts of the sparsely populated but resource-rich desert area.

Meanwhile, the Polisario Front movement is striving for an independent state in Western Sahara and is supported by Algeria. There are repeated battles between the Polisario and the Moroccan army. Morocco's claim has not yet been recognized internationally.

EU rebukes Algeria over dispute with Spain over Western Sahara
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