The Spanish government indicated on Thursday that it was “analyzing” the consequences of the trade restrictions announced the day before by Algeria, in cold weather with Madrid on the question of the Moroccan Sahara, while promising a “constructive” response and saying it was convinced that Algiers would continue to honor gas delivery contracts to Spain.
“We are currently analyzing the exact implications of this measure and its practical scope, (…) both at national and European level”, Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares told reporters on the sidelines of a conference.
Madrid’s goal is to “to give an adequate, serene, constructive, but also firm response in defense of the interests of Spain and the interests of Spanish companies”continued the head of Spanish diplomacy.
The Algerian Association of Banks and Financial Institutions (ABEF) had announced, in a document published Wednesday evening, restrictions on transactions with Spain including a “freeze on bank domiciliations for foreign trade operations of products and services”.
This announcement came a few hours after the announcement by the Algerian government of the suspension of the “treaty of friendship, good neighborliness and cooperation” concluded in 2002 with Spain, after Madrid’s reversal on the Western Sahara issue.
The wish of the Spanish government is “to have the best relations” possible with Algeria, insisted Albares.
The Algiers announcement raises the question of gas supplies to Spain. Linked to the Iberian Peninsula by an undersea gas pipeline (Medgaz), Algeria currently supplies just under 30% of the gas consumed by Spain.
“The existing commercial relations between the (Algerian) gas company Sonatrach and the Spanish companies that buy gas” include “contractual obligations”said Spanish Minister for Energy Transition, Teresa Ribera, on Thursday.
“I am therefore confident in the fact” that this relationship “will continue to operate in the same way, because otherwise it would be another type of more complex problem to solve, not through diplomatic means, but probably” before “courts”she added.