Algeria bans imports from Spain over spat on Western Sahara

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

Published Jun 10, 2022


CAPE TOWN –Algeria said it was suspending foreign trade in products and services with Spain as of June 9, Radio Algeria International reports.

The suspension is part of an escalating dispute over the status of Western Sahara.

The move comes after the country suspended a 20-year-old friendship treaty with Spain, on Wednesday, that committed the two sides to co-operation in controlling migration flows, and also banned imports from Spain.

“Algeria has decided to immediately suspend the treaty of friendship, good neighbourliness and co-operation,” the Algerian presidency said in a statement.

Madrid and Algiers had signed the deal in 2002 to promote dialogue and co-operation on political, economic, financial, education and defence issues. Algeria has also banned imports from Spain.

The EU has urged Algeria to reverse its decision, pressing for dialogue to resolve the dispute, according to reports.

According to APF, Spain regretted Algiers’ decision, adding it “considers Algeria a friend” and remained open “to develop the special relationship of co-operation between the two countries”.

The treaty provided for the strengthening of political dialogue between Spain and Algeria and the development of co-operation in fields like economy and education.

In March, Algeria’s president affirmed his countries position on the Western Sahara crisis, saying that its position is towards Western Sahara – not towards Morocco – “and everyone knows that this has always been our approach”, the president said, speaking to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during an official state visit by the US secretary.

“All the Algerian diplomatic efforts were made to destroy apartheid. We also took advantage of our presidency of the UN General Assembly to exclude South Africa from all the international organisations. When Nelson Mandela was released from prison and apartheid fell, Algeria created a strong alliance between Pretoria and Algiers. So this is not new for us. This is not about Western Sahara only – this has always been our position approach.”

Last year, the UN Security Council extended the UN peacekeeping mission in the disputed Western Sahara for a year, expressing concern at the breakdown of the 1991 ceasefire between Morocco and the pro-independence Polisario Front and calling for a revival of UN-led negotiations.