Algerian Decision To End Friendly Ties With Spain Creates Tension
Algeria– The Western Sahara row has gone so much out of proportion that that a 20-year-old friendship between two nations remains severed. Algeria has snapped ties with Spain over this fight that will hurt their mutual agreement over migration flow and ban over Spanish imports too.
All foreign trade of goods and services remains severed between Algeria and Spain. Meanwhile, in response, the Spanish side has reacted with its Spanish foreign minister José Manuel Albares saying that Madrid was preparing ‘a constructive but firm response in defence of Spanish interests and companies’.
Algeria might have to now look for alternatives to its gas needs as it was sourcing 40percent of its fossil fuels from Spain. Algeria has previously indicated it would abide by supply contracts despite worsening relations. Ties between the two countries had started to become strained as Madrid became candid in expressing its support to Morocco’s plan for the Western Sahara under which the Sahraoui people will have limited autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty.
The instant reaction from the Algerian side then was immediate retraction of its ambassador from Spain in March after Madrid announcement. The Western Sahara region has been a point of dispute between Algeria and Morocco for decades now. The European Union however, has recently, urged Algeria to reverse its decision a day after the gas-rich north African country ordered the suspension of a two-decade-old friendship treaty with Spain.
Spain was the former colonial power in Western Sahara until it was annexed by Morocco in 1975. Since then, Algeria and neighboring Morocco have had tense ties over the fate of the Western Sahara, at one point fighting a desert war.
Algeria’s stand only intensifies matters rocking the Western world. As Madrid worries that a rift in relations could lead to an increase in illegal immigrants from Algeria to Spain’s Balearic Islands and south-west coast, the rest of the continent is hustling to find alternatives to Russian energy imports in retaliation to its invasion of Ukraine.