Algiers suspends friendship treaty with Madrid
Tensions are escalating between Spain and Algeria. The Algerian Professional Association of Banks has announced a ban on all imports from Spain as of Thursday. Before that the country had suspended a bilateral friendship treaty that had been in place for 20 years. The move comes after Prime Minister Sánchez proposed in March that Western Sahara be incorporated into Moroccan territory as an autonomous region. The Spanish press urges caution.
Blackmailed by Morocco, punished by Algeria
The conservative daily El Mundo sees mistakes above all on the part of the Spanish government:
“The rupture decided by Algeria opens up the biggest crisis between Spain and the Maghreb since the invasion of Perejil Island in 2002. ... Today the fourth-largest economy in the Eurozone looks like it has given in to Moroccan blackmail without any visible gains, while at the same time being punished by Algeria, one of our main gas suppliers. Asking Brussels for help to correct its own mistakes not only betrays its incompetence but could also be counterproductive. ... Meanwhile, Algerian boats [carrying refugees] are landing on the Balearic Islands and the gas companies fear the prices will be renegotiated and go up, which will of course be reflected in our gas bills.”
Caution is needed
More should be done on the diplomatic front, La Vanguardia advises:
“Official sources agree in saying that this crisis won't compromise Algerian gas supplies to Spain. ... But that does not mean it is irrelevant. In 2019, Spanish companies exported products worth a total of three billion euros to the African country. ... This bilateral crisis stems from the invasion of Ukraine. ... Spain must act with caution, and with the medium-term goal of restoring bilateral relations. This is desirable if we want to maintain gas supplies, revive Spanish exports and improve cooperation on immigration and security.”