New blow: Algeria ends 2-decade friendship treaty with Spain

Jun 8, 2022, 11:53 AM | Updated: 3:39 pm

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — The Algerian president’s office announced Wednesday that the North African nation was “immediately” suspending a two-decade-old friendship treaty with Spain.

It was the latest blow to increasingly wobbly relations between Algiers and Madrid, which depends on Algeria for a large part of its natural gas supply.

Tensions have soared in a complex three-way dispute after Spain gave its backing to Morocco’s position over the disputed territory of Western Sahara. Algeria backs the Polisario independence movement in the region, which rejects Morocco’s annexation of Western Sahara. The Polisario are encamped in southern Algeria.

The statement from Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s office cited what it said was the “unjustifiable turnaround” in March on Spain’s position, amounting to a “fait accompli using fallacious arguments.” It said Spain has since campaigned “to justify” its position.

The statement said Spain was abusing its role as an “administrating power” in the Western Sahara until the United Nations sorts out the status of the vast, mineral-rich territory. It is, therefore, “contributing directly to the degradation of the situation in the Western Sahara and the region,” the Algerian president’s office said.

“In consequence, Algeria has decided to proceed immediately with the suspension” of the treaty, which has served as the framework in the two countries’ ties, the statement said. The treaty dates to 2002.

Spain’s government said it regretted Algeria’s decision and reaffirmed its commitment to the friendship treaty.

“The Spanish government regards Algeria as a friendly neighbor country and restates its complete readiness to keep and develop the special cooperation relationship between our two countries, to the benefit of the people of both,” a Spanish Foreign Ministry statement said.

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. Morocco wants some autonomy for the region with Moroccan oversight over what it calls its “southern provinces.”

The two African countries broke diplomatic relations in August in the standoff.

The Western Sahara issue has combined with turbulence over energy supplies from gas-rich Algeria. The Algerian press regularly refers to Spain’s backing for Morocco as a form of “treason.”

Algeria’s diplomatic slap at Spain came hours after Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez spoke at length in Spain’s Parliament on his decision to side with Morocco over the future of Western Sahara. Sánchez said having Western Sahara operate autonomously under Moroccan rule is “the most serious, realistic and credible” initiative for resolving the long dispute over the territory.

While a leader in wind and solar power, Spain still needs to import natural gas to meet its energy needs.

In 2021, Algeria’s Sonatrach furnished Spain with more than 40% of its imported natural gas, most brought in via the underwater Medgaz pipeline. Another supply route to Spain was via the Maghreb Europe pipeline that passes through Morocco but that was shut off after the August break in diplomatic ties between Algeria and Morocco.

In recent months the United States has taken over as Spain’s top natural gas supplier.

So far there is no indication that Algeria plans to not uphold its current contract to send gas to Spain via pipeline and tankers. But it has recently announced that Italy, with which it has a separate pipeline, will be a preferred customer as European countries scramble to find alternatives to Russian energy to punish it for its invasion of Ukraine.

“Algeria is well known for being a trustworthy supplier (of gas) and has given guarantees from the highest level of its government” that the gas will keep flowing, Spanish Foreign Minister José Albares said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 is a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned combat aerial vehi...
Associated Press

Lithuanian crowdfunding drive gets Ukraine an armed drone

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuania will present a combat drone to Ukraine that was donated by the Turkish manufacturer after a private crowdfunding campaign among ordinary Lithuanians, who raised nearly 6 million euros ($6.1 million) for the purpose within days. The campaign’s success inspired Turkey’s Baykar defense company, which makes the Bayraktar TB2 drone, to […]
6 hours ago
Abortion-rights activists chant after handcuffing themselves to the front steps of Los Angeles City...
Associated Press

EU Parliament condemns US abortion ruling, seeks safeguards

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s parliament on Thursday overwhelmingly condemned the end of constitutional protections for abortion in the United States and called for such safeguards to be enshrined in the EU’s fundamental rights charter. In a 324-155 vote with 38 abstentions, European Parliament lawmakers adopted a resolution that crystalized the anger seen in […]
6 hours ago
A hiring sign is displayed at a gas station as a customer walks past in Buffalo Grove, Ill., Thursd...
Associated Press

U.S. jobless claims rise to 235k, most in nearly six months

WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week and while layoffs remain low, it was the fifth consecutive week that claims topped the 230,000 mark and the most in almost six months. Applications for jobless aid for the week ending July 2 rose to 235,000, up 4,000 from the previous week and […]
6 hours ago
FILE - From left, British Health Secretary Sajid Javid, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and...
Associated Press

Conservative contenders who could succeed Boris Johnson

LONDON (AP) — A Conservative leadership contest will take place in coming weeks after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Thursday he is resigning as the party’s leader — though he will continue to serve as prime minister until a successor is elected by party members. A look at the candidates who could succeed Johnson […]
6 hours ago
Associated Press

Rights groups say probe into Egypt economist’s death flawed

CAIRO (AP) — Two leading human rights groups on Thursday accused Egyptian authorities of failing to conduct an impartial and transparent investigation into the suspicious death of an economic researcher in custody. In a joint statement, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International accused Egyptian prosecutors of having turned a blind eye to “mounting evidence” that […]
6 hours ago
FILE - Pleasure boats tied to a pier rest on dry ground of the water depleted Zezere River due to d...
Associated Press

Heat, drought and wildfires: Torrid spell torments Portugal

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal is bracing for a heat wave, with temperatures in some areas forecast to climb as high as 43 C (109 F) this weekend just as a severe drought grips the country. The Civil Protection Agency, a Portuguese government body that coordinates official responses to emergencies, said Thursday it is placing […]
6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
New blow: Algeria ends 2-decade friendship treaty with Spain