Algeria recalls its ambassador in Madrid after Spain handed over Western Sahara

Algeria has decided to recall its ambassador in Madrid “immediately” after the Spanish prime minister’s statements on Western Sahara, which Algeria says represent a “foggy reversal”. This was announced by the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to official media.

Spain took a completely different stance on this sensitive file on Friday by explicitly supporting Morocco’s plan for Western Sahara for the first time.

“The Algerian authorities are very surprised by the statements of the highest Spanish authorities on the Western Sahara file. They were surprised by this sudden reversal in the position of the former government forces of Western Sahara and decided to recall their ambassador in Madrid for consultations immediately,” the ministry said in a statement.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Alparis said in Barcelona on Friday that Spain considers the “autonomy initiative” proposed by Morocco in 2007 as “the most dangerous and realistic basis” for resolving the dispute between Rabat and the Polisario Front.

The conflict between Morocco and the Sahrawis of the Polisario Front, who seek independence and are backed by Algeria, has been going on for decades. Rabat, which controls nearly 80 percent of the territory, proposes autonomy under its sovereignty, while the Polisario is calling for a referendum on self-determination.

Algeria supplies more than 40 percent of Spain’s imported natural gas, most of which comes via the Medgaz submarine pipeline.

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Denton Watson

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