France hopes, for the sake of bilateral relations and, also, of the European ones, that Madrid and Algiers manage to overcome the crisis unleashed after Algeria’s decision to freeze the friendship and cooperation agreement with Spain in response to the latter’s turn in its position on Western Sahara. This has been transmitted by the new French Foreign Minister, Catherine Colonna, to her Algerian counterpart, Ramtane Lamamra, during a telephone conversation on Tuesday.
The Spanish-Algerian crisis has not been the trigger for a primarily protocol call, since Colonna has just assumed the portfolio of French diplomacy in the new government team made up of President Emmanuel Macron after his re-election and in recent days has spoken with many of his international counterparts, diplomatic sources stress to EL PAÍS.
However, the inclusion of this point in the brief statement with which the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports on the conversation, held on Monday, shows that the issue is also of concern in France, which has its own complicated relationship with Algiers and currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union. The crisis was part of the issues addressed, “one issue among others”, because it is an “important issue that we are following carefully,” the sources explain in this regard.
By “referring” to the “latest events” in Spanish-Algerian relations, Colonna “underlined his deep attachment to good relations between our European partners and our neighbors on the southern shore of the Mediterranean,” the official statement said. In this sense, the head of French diplomacy expresses her “confidence that dialogue will allow us to overcome common challenges,” the letter adds.
The phrase is practically the same answer that the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave at the end of last week, on the same day, Friday, that the Spanish Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, traveled to Brussels to meet with the Vice President of the European Commission responsible for trade policy, Valdis Dombrovskis. Brussels has supported Madrid and has warned Algeria that the blockade of the commercial relationship with Spain “violates” in all probability the association agreement between the EU and the Maghreb country, which could lead to commercial and economic retaliation by the European side. .
The European Union’s Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, Nabila Massrali, said on Monday that the EU is in contact with the Algerian authorities to analyze the impact of the suspension of the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborhood and Cooperation with Spain and the suspension of bilateral trade. “We want to promote dialogue to resolve differences and the High Representative [Josep Borrell] is ready to provide support if necessary”, he asserted, in a line of support for the dialogue visibly shared by France. “Dialogue is the only way” to resolve this type of conflict, agrees Paris.
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Beyond the crisis with Spain, Colonna addressed with Lamamra other regional crises such as Mali and Libya, in which cooperation between France and Algeria is “central”, according to Foreign Affairs.
Also on Tuesday, the official Algerian news agency, APS, published an unsigned opinion article, which describes the current Spanish-Algerian relations as an “unprecedented crisis” and attacks the Spanish Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, who is branded as an “arsonist” and for “manipulating” the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, to “unfortunately tarnish the credibility” of the European Commission, which issued a statement that the text calls ” baseless” on Algeria last week, in which the Maghreb country was accused of violating the association agreement with the EU.
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