MADRID – Spain wants to mediate in the diplomatic crisis between Morocco and Algeria. José Manuel Albares, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced this on Sunday.
In an interview with the daily Diario de Sevilla, Albares stated that at the forthcoming summit of the Mediterranean Union on 28 and 29 November in Barcelona, Spain wishes to play the role of mediator to relaunch the dialogue between Morocco and Algeria, to guarantee stability in the Mediterranean area. Moreover, the minister noted that Morocco and Algeria are essential partner countries for Spain and the European Union.
Albares continued: “On November 28 and 29, the meeting of the Mediterranean Union will be held in Barcelona. Therefore, this is where we will discuss this diplomatic crisis. We have always advocated reconciliation for the benefit of the entire Mediterranean region,” the minister continued. And according to whom a “dialogue is necessary”.
“We have a strategic partnership with Morocco. It is a country with which we share huge interests in different areas. Morocco is also a country that plays an important role for stability around the Mediterranean,” Albares continued.
Recalling King Mohammed VI’s speech on August 20 this year, Albares stressed that the monarch has demonstrated his will to improve relations between Morocco and Spain.
Last week, Paris hosted a conference on Libya, attended by Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra and his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita, where the two refused to shake hands. A number of Arab countries have tried to mediate between the two, but all attempts have failed.
Ties between the countries have been strained for years. However, they have deteriorated since last year after the Algeria-backed Polisario Front said it was resuming its armed struggle for the independence of Western Sahara, a territory Morocco considers its own.
In August, Algeria announced that it had decided to cut ties with Morocco because of Rabat’s “hostile tendencies” towards Morocco.
Algeria cuts gas supply with Morocco
The crisis between Algeria and Morocco has led to the suspension of the contract of the Maghreb-Europe Gas Pipeline (GME). Furthermore, for Spain, Algeria’s decision has a serious impact, as the country can only import gas through the Medgaz, a gas pipeline with a smaller capacity that cannot meet the high demand. Especially now that the country is already struggling with the relatively high gas price at the moment. According to a statement, Algiers is stopping deliveries due to “hostile practices” by Morocco.