Spain: Albares' visit to Algiers postponed at the last minute

Spain: Albares' visit to Algiers postponed at the last minute

The reconciliation between Algeria and Spain was to be recorded this Monday, February 12 during a scheduled visit to Algiers by the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jose Manuel Albares.

But the trip was postponed at the last minute, report several Iberian media. It appears that despite the thaw, there are still unresolved differences between the two capitals.

After nearly two years of diplomatic crisis, the beginnings of a warming between Algiers and Madrid began to appear last November when Algeria appointed Abdelhafid Deghmoune as ambassador to Madrid.

The position had remained vacant for 19 months, since March 2022, when the left-wing Spanish government made a historic reversal in its position on the Western Sahara issue by supporting the autonomy plan presented by Morocco in 2007. Pedro Sanchez, the president of the government, had acted in this way to resolve a long crisis with Morocco but he provoked another very acute one with Algiers.

In addition to the recall of its ambassador, Algeria proceeded in June of the same year to the suspension of the treaty of friendship and good neighborliness with Spain, followed by the freezing of commercial exchanges between the two countries, except exports of hydrocarbons.

The visit of Spanish diplomacy to Algiers postponed indefinitely

Questioned last December by the Al Jazeera channel, the Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Attaf, confirmed the warming, explaining it by the change “ at 180 degrees » in the position of the Spanish government compared to that adopted in March 2022.

As an immediate effect, trade between the two countries has resumed, Algiers having authorized the importation of poultry products from Spain last January, then in February that of red meats.

The reconciliation had to be solemnly recorded by a high-level visit. Last Thursday, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced a visit by Jose Manuel Albares on Monday February 12.

Madrid wants to obtain from Algiers a total relaunch of trade between the two countries, but this request risks not succeeding. Algeria seems to be opting for a lifting of necessary imports from this country.

Albares' trip to Algiers was, however, canceled to everyone's surprise on Sunday February 11. A few hours before the meeting, Spanish diplomacy indicated that the visit was postponed for “ calendar reasons » on the Algerian side, without providing other details.

The newspaper El Confidencial reported that it was Albares who decided to postpone his trip to Algiers after knowing that he would not be received by Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

For its part, El Mundo considers that the postponement of the trip constitutes “ undoubtedly a setback for Spanish diplomacy » since the visit, announced Thursday February 8, was to seal “ the total normalization of relations after their breakup more than two years ago ».

The newspaper recalls that Spanish diplomatic sources described this visit as “ diplomatic success » which ends “ the biggest diplomatic crisis Pedro Sánchez faced ».

According to our sources, the visit of Albares, who is considered pro-Moroccan, was postponed to a later date due to differences between the two countries. Since the crisis of March 2022, Algeria and Spain have diverged on the conflict in Western Sahara.

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