By John Ikani
Algeria has suspended a 20-year-old co-operation treaty with Spain, after Madrid reversed its neutral stance towards Western Sahara.
In March Spain publicly recognised Morocco’s autonomy plan for the disputed territory to end a diplomatic spat with the kingdom, Algeria’s arch-rival.
Morocco controls around 80% of the Western Sahara.
The rest is held by the Algerian-backed Polisario movement, which fought a 15-year war with Morocco after Spanish forces withdrew in 1975.
Morocco has offered limited autonomy but insists the phosphate and fisheries-rich territory must remain under its sovereignty.
Spain officially endorsed that position in March to help resolve a year-long diplomatic dispute after it admitted the Polisario’s leader Ibrahim Ait Ghali to be treated for COVID-19.
Algeria said Wednesday that Spain’s recognising the plan had been “in violation of its legal, moral and political obligations” towards Western Sahara.
In response, it suspended a deal meant to promote dialogue and cooperation with Spain on political, economic, financial, education and defence issues.
Algeria and Morocco have seen months of tensions since Morocco re-established ties with Israel in December 2020 in exchange for Washington also recognising Rabat’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.