Algerian President Abdelmayid Teboune on Saturday accused Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of breaking the “cordial” and “strong” relations between Spain and Algeria with his turnaround on Western Sahara.
In an interview with Algerian public television on Saturday night, Teboune was sharply critical of Sánchez for backing Morocco’s autonomy plan for the Sahara, a decision that prompted Algeria to recall its ambassador to Madrid for consultations in protest.
“What Spain has done is unacceptable, ethically and historically,” said the Algerian leader, who reminded the Spanish government that “its responsibility remains in Western Sahara in the face of international law”.
Teboune insisted that until a solution is reached, whatever it may be, Spain is considered the administering power. “The others can align themselves or not, that’s their problem. But not Spain. It has no right to hand over a colonised territory to another country. That is the problem with Spain”, he stressed.
The Algerian president focused his criticism not so much on Spain as a country, but on Pedro Sánchez, stating: “We have cordial relations with Spain and there has been a rapprochement, as with Italy. The president of the government has broken everything, not Spain”.
“Let us distinguish between the government and the Spanish state. With the Spanish state we have strong and very firm relations,” said Tebune, who said that Sánchez had taken an unpopular decision. “He has not received the support of the rest, neither in the Congress of Deputies nor in the streets,” the Algerian president said.
Teboune denied that his statements amounted to interference in the Spanish government’s decisions. “I do not interfere in Spain’s internal affairs, but we, as an observer country with regard to Western Sahara, consider Spain to be an administering power”, he insisted.
The Algerian president offered Sánchez the opportunity to restore ties as soon as he reassumes his role as administrator over Western Sahara. He also reiterated that the normalisation of ties with the Spanish government requires “compliance with international law”. “They cannot disengage from their historical responsibilities and are asked to review their actions”, he said.
In spite of everyone, Teboune guaranteed that his country will absolutely comply with all agreements regarding gas supplies to Spain after the Algerian energy company Sonatrach warned at the beginning of the month of the possibility of “recalculating” prices.
“To reassure our Spanish friends, the Spanish people: Algeria will never get rid of its commitments to supply gas to Spain, whatever the circumstances,” he said.