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Algeria to honour gas commitments with Spain despite fallout

Days into the suspension of a 20-year-old friendship treaty with Madrid and banning imports from Spain over its U-turn on Western Sahara, Algeria said on Friday that it would honour all its gas commitments with its trans-Mediterranean neighbour.

“Algeria has already let it be known by the most authoritative voice, that of the President of the Republic, that it will continue to honour all its commitments,” an Algerian MFA statement said.

The suspension of a 20-year-old friendship treaty with Spain was announced on Wednesday by Algeria, which also halted its banking association ordered payments to and from Spain. Algerian sources said this affected all trade except for gas supplies.

Spanish businesses have already begun to report interruptions in trade with Algeria, which receives around 1 percent of Spanish exports including meat, metals and industrial chemicals, and is Spain’s second-largest gas supplier.

No disruption was reported at Medgaz’s facilities in Almeria in the southeast of Spain on Friday, where the underwater gas pipeline delivers Algerian gas to Spain. Following Algier’s Friday decision to block trade with Spain, shipping containers were processed at Barcelona’s port.

On the same day, two senior EU officials said this decision could be a violation of European Union trade law.

Spain’s plan is to arrive at a solution with Algeria through swift dialogue and diplomacy, its foreign minister Jose Manuel Albares said on Friday after meeting EU officials in Brussels.

Algeria was angered when Spain said in March it supported a Moroccan plan to offer autonomy to Western Sahara. Algeria backs the Polisario Front movement seeking full independence for the territory, which Morocco regards as its own and mostly controls.

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