What happened in Algeria was predictable, by Jorge Dezcallar

If anyone is still surprised by Algeria’s reaction to the Pedro Sánchez’s turn in Spanish policy on the Sahara, you have to make him look at it. Algiers withdrew its ambassador from Madrid to make clear its displeasure when the Moroccan Royal Palace reported a letter from the President of the Spanish Government in which he considered the autonomy proposal for the Sahara as “the most serious, credible and realistic & rdquor; to solve a problem entrenched for 47 years, when the Green March forced us to leave there in the midst of General Franco’s agony.

Then Algiers has followed with some hope the presidential solitude before a Congress that had not been informed and that from the first moment he unanimously disagreed with this change in policy, until the appearance of Pedro Sánchez last Wednesday made him understand that, although more alone than one o’clock, the president was not going to back down. And then he denounced the bilateral Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborhood and Cooperation with Spain, which was signed in 2002 after our crisis with Morocco over the islet of Perejil, and which is a very generic text with political, commercial, security and cooperation provisions in various fields, whose real importance lies in the political will that supports it and that now for Algeria has ceased to exist. And it also made the decision in principle to freeze direct debits and foreign trade operations of products and services with Spain, which would greatly harm our exporters and bilateral trade, which in the first quarter of this year has produced an export of 473 million euros and imports worth 1,790 (almost all fuels). But, as this decision contravenes the 2005 Association Agreement between Algeria and the European Union and Spain could challenge it, Algeria has had to back downwhich I’m afraid will only add to his bad mood and will lead him to look for other ways to tickle us. Gas exports are not affected for now and that is a relief when the war in Ukraine has caused a stratospheric increase in the prices we pay for energy… although if the environment continues to deteriorate I would not put my hand on the fire. The contracts in force will be fulfilled but, from then on, I’m afraid they will treat us very badly (prices, quantities, preference, etc). for now, Algiers no longer accepts the repatriation of irregular immigrants from Spanish ports and it would not be surprising the arrival of more Algerian small boats to our coasts, as is already happening in the Balearic Islands.

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Algerians are very, very angry before what they describe as “unjustifiable turn & rdquor; and of “treason & rdquor; of Spain by supporting the autonomy proposed by Morocco, which they describe as “illegal and illegitimate & rdquor; because the formula defended by the United Nations is that of a self-determination referendum or, failing that, an agreement between the parties. It would be desirable for the Saharawis to accept the Moroccan idea of ​​autonomy out of pure realism, because the alternative is a Moroccan annexation of the Sahara in the style of Crimea by Russia, but as long as they do not do so, this formula lacks coverage from the point of view of international legality.

What has happened now with Algeria was to be expected because the government has shown weakness by abandoning principles and giving in to pressure from Morocco and that is an infallible recipe to guarantee problems. With some and with others. We have shown you the way and Algeria must think that if we have given in to Morocco, we will do it again if they too put enough pressure on us. Because another big mistake by Pedro Sánchez is that has come out of the protection given by the UN umbrella, by allowing it to maintain a position of neutrality in the struggle for hegemony between Algeria and Morocco in the Maghreb, to place itself openly on the Moroccan side, thus provoking Algerian anger. Don Pedro cannot complain if they are now shooting at him from all sides. He has asked for it. Neither can he say that he has achieved appreciable benefits neither for Spain nor for peace in North Africa, and he cannot even blame the CNI for the mess. What is said to make a bread with some cakes.

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