The former Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and the former head of Spanish diplomacy Miguel Ángel Moratinos met this Friday with the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Nasser Burita, in the midst of a diplomatic crisis between Spain and Algeria due to the political shift in the Sahara Western. The meeting took place in Tangier (Morocco), during an international conference on the dialogue of cultures. Sources familiar with the situation told this newspaper that the assistance of Zapatero and Moratinos had been scheduled for several days, before Algeria suspended the Friendship Treaty with Spain last Wednesday.
In addition to Moratinos, current high representative of the Alliance of Civilizations, and Zapatero, Amr Musa, former secretary general of the Arab League, was also present at the meeting. Both Moratinos and Zapatero have supported the Government of Pedro Sánchez after endorsing the Moroccan autonomy plan for Western Sahara, a turn that has led Algeria this week to break the Treaty of Friendship with Spain signed two decades ago. In fact, a senior Algerian official quoted by the portal Tout sur l’Algerie attributed in April to the two former leaders part of the responsibility in the turn of Sánchez.
The former President of the Government has expressed this Friday his support for the “constructive” position of the Government of Spain in its diplomatic turn regarding Western Sahara and in the management of the diplomatic crisis with Algeria. “The Government of Spain follows a constructive, realistic position and in my opinion it is gaining political ground for a substantive conflict,” said Zapatero. Regarding the diplomatic crisis, Zapatero called for “sensitivity” and “support for the Government of Spain.” “When an important part of the possible negotiation or final solution is approaching, tensions always occur… this is common in all political processes. I hope that everything is redirected through the political and diplomatic channel and especially that everyone is sensible and, to the extent possible, supporting the Government of Spain”, he asserted.
After announcing the suspension of the friendship treaty with Spain, Algeria launched this Thursday the first measures of economic retaliation with the freezing of direct debits for foreign trade, after the Spanish Government changed, last March, its position on the Western Sahara and support Morocco’s proposal for autonomy for the former Spanish colony. This Friday, the Algerian mission to the EU denied that the transactions had been interrupted.
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