Thursday, July 7

Algeria freezes foreign trade with Spain after its “unjustifiable” turn on the Sahara

Algeria has decided to freeze foreign trade with Spain in response to its change of position on the Sahara. The banks of the African country have received the order to “freeze direct debits and foreign trade operations of products and services to and from Spain as of Thursday, June 9,” according to reported by El Confidencial. The Professional Banking Association, which mediates between the Ministry of Economy and financial institutions, has sent them that decision.

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This order comes shortly after the Algerian president, Abdelmajid Tebboune, “immediately” suspended the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborhood and Cooperation with Spain, signed on October 8, 2002. “The Spanish authorities have launched a campaign to justify the position that they have adopted on Western Sahara, a violation of their legal, moral and political obligations as the administrative power of the territory that weigh on the Kingdom of Spain”, declared the same source.

Algeria considers “unjustifiable” the change of position of Spain that on March 18 backed the Moroccan proposal for autonomy over the Spanish colony.

Algiers considers in a statement that Spain’s attitude is “contrary to international legality imposed by its status as administering power and to the efforts of the United Nations and the Secretary General’s new envoy and contribute directly to the deterioration of the situation in the Western Sahara and in the region”.

Therefore, it decided to suspend the aforementioned Treaty “which until now framed the development of relations between the two countries.” “(…) the current Spanish government has given all its support to the illegal and illegitimate form of internal autonomy advocated by the occupying power, and has worked to promote a colonial fait accompli using spurious arguments,” the source said.

Algiers has been “very surprised” by Spain’s support for Morocco’s autonomy project for the Sahara, and in March withdrew its ambassador from Madrid.

The Government’s reaction

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs “regrets” Algeria’s announcement this Wednesday to “immediately” suspend the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborhood and Cooperation with Spain, signed in October 2002.

Diplomatic sources have indicated that the Executive “reaffirms its full commitment to the content of the Treaty and the principles that inform it”, especially in relation to the “strict adherence to the purposes and principles of the Charter” of the UN and to the “principles of International Law as fundamental elements”, emphasizing the “non-interference in internal affairs”.

For her part, the third vice-president and minister for the Ecological Transition, stressed that Algeria “continues to be a very important country” and stressed that the Executive is “available to recover an excellent relationship between neighbors”. “It is not an announcement that satisfies us but we trust that this can be redirected.”

As to whether it will affect the ongoing renegotiation of gas supply contracts, Ribera pointed out that “it makes little sense to speculate with hypotheses” and highlighted the “exemplary behavior” that has so far marked relations “between Algerian and Spanish trading companies ”. This week, in an interview on The vanguardthe president of Naturgy, Francisco Reynés, highlighted that the supply contract with the state-owned Sonatrach “is until 2032 and with the willingness of the parties to renew”, although in the Algerian company “decision-making ultimately has a political component ”.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, has assured that he does not fear possible reprisals on issues such as immigration or gas. In statements to the press, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has assured that Algiers “has proven to be a reliable partner, a reliable supplier”, as well as that “maximum level guarantees have been given”, with which “nothing indicates that this will be otherwise.”

Algeria’s announcement comes on the same day that President Pedro Sánchez has defended in Congress his shift in position on Western Sahara, which he believes is already yielding positive results in relations with Morocco, despite the fact that there is still no receive the support of its partners or the opposition.

Only the PSOE has supported this change of position that supports the Moroccan proposal to solve the conflict, an issue for which Sánchez had to appear for the second time in a plenary session in the Lower House.

Regarding the relationship with Morocco, Sánchez has been able to verify once again that neither the opposition parties nor their partners in United We Can, nor their parliamentary allies join a decision that they have criticized, among other arguments, for being unilateral and for not treating as deserves the Saharawi people.

This shift in the position on the Sahara, considering that the Moroccan proposal is “the most serious, credible and realistic basis” to resolve the situation, opened the door to a trip by the President of the Government on April 7 to Rabat to meet with King Mohammed VI. “47 years of unresolved conflict around the Saharawi issue should be enough to understand that we have to move our positions”, said Sánchez. In any case, he has insisted that the solution will have to come from an agreement between the parties and must satisfy the conditions set by the United Nations.

The PP points to him as responsible for the “failure”

The PP spokeswoman, Cuca Gamarra, has pointed to Sánchez as being responsible for the “failure” of the diplomatic turn negotiated with Morocco and that has meant that Spain is betting on Western Sahara belonging to the Mohammed VI regime. Gamarra has recalled that Congress has not endorsed the change promoted by Sánchez and has questioned its usefulness. “What has been the use?”, She has asked her. “The Ceuta customs office has not yet been created and the Melilla customs office is still closed”, she added, to conclude: “It is a failure. His failure.”

For his part, the spokesman for United We Can in Congress, Pablo Echenique, has been convinced that a rectification would allow international legality and progressive principles to be placed and, in addition, would serve to curb the extreme right. For him, it is clear that “Morocco is an aggressor power” and the Sahara is “the attacked people”.

Investiture partners such as PNV and Bildu have accused the President of the Government of having abandoned the Saharawis to their fate with a turn on the Sahara that they consider a mistake due to the consequences in relations with Algeria.

The Polisario Front says that the decision responds to the lack of “explanations”

The delegate in Spain of the Polisario Front, Abdullah Arubi, has justified Algeria’s decision, since he considers that, almost three months after the “radical turn” on Western Sahara, there are still no “explanations” on the part of the President of the Government, Peter Sanchez.

Arubi recalled that Algiers had already called its ambassador for consultations in an attempt to seek “convincing” answers to the letter that Sánchez sent to the King of Morocco, Mohamed VI, and in which he endorsed Rabat’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara. . “I think that nobody sees in exchange for what”, he has warned.