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Algeria Appoints New Ambassador To Spain After Nearly 20 Months Of Friction

ALGERIA – Algeria has appointed a new ambassador to Spain, after nearly 20 months of diplomatic friction caused by Madrid’s U-turn on the Western Sahara issue, the Algerian Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday.

“The Spanish government has approved the appointment of Abdelfetah Daghmoum as Algeria’s ambassador to Spain, the ministry said in a statement.

Algeria had recalled its ambassador in March 2022 to protest against Spain’s U-turn in favour of the Moroccan autonomy plan for Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony disputed by Rabat and the Polisario Front independence fighters.

This about-face, which put an end to Madrid’s historic position of neutrality on this issue, was decided by the Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez as part of a diplomatic rapprochement with Rabat.

It provoked the anger of Algiers, a historic supporter of the Polisario, which decided in retaliation to suspend a friendship treaty signed in 2002 with Madrid and to limit commercial transactions with Spain, by freezing banking operations with this country.

This decision has had serious consequences for the companies concerned, particularly in the ceramics, agri-food construction and public works sectors, which have seen their projects frozen and their exports plummet.

The conflict over the Western Sahara, considered a “non-autonomous territory” by the UN in the absence of a definitive settlement, has pitted Morocco against the Polisario for decades.

Rabat, which controls nearly 80% of Western Sahara, is proposing an autonomy plan under its sovereignty, while the Polisario is calling for a referendum on self-determination, which was provided for by the UN when a ceasefire was signed in 1991 but never put into practice.

Africanews and AFP

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