PARIS (AP) – Algeria has recalled its ambassador to Spain to protest against Madrid’s support for a Moroccan project for the autonomy of Western Sahara.
The former Spanish colony is disputed between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front independence movement.
Algeria has condemned Spain’s “sharp reversal”, saying in an official statement on Saturday that Spain had previously shown neutrality in the long-running land dispute.
Algeria threw its weight behind the Polisario after Morocco annexed Western Sahara in 1975.
Spain on Friday backed a Moroccan proposal for Western Sahara to operate autonomously under Rabat’s rule, calling it the “most serious, realistic and credible” initiative to resolve a decades-long dispute over the vast African territory. .
The Polisario accused Spain of a “serious error” in judgment. He continued to call for an independence referendum.
A Spanish Foreign Ministry official said on Saturday evening that Madrid had “previously informed the Algerian government of its position regarding the Sahara”.
“For Spain, Algeria is a strategic, priority and reliable partner with whom we intend to maintain a privileged relationship,” said the official, who was not authorized to be named in the media.