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Why is trade between Algeria and Spain still at a standstill?

Since last June, the two countries have severed business and trade relations over Spain's support of Morocco's claim to the contested Western Sahara.
Western Sahara

Since June 2022, business and trade between Algeria and Spain have been at a standstill, amid a bitter dispute over the autonomy of the Western Sahara. 

Morocco has laid claim to the vast swath of the world’s largest desert, which was a Spanish colony until the mid-1970s. A 1991 ceasefire deal saw Morocco lay claim to 80% of the Western Sahara, with the rest being held by the Algerian-backed Polisario movement. Algeria has been adverse to its neighbor laying claim to the Western Sahara and has supported its independence from Morocco.

While Morocco has offered some limited autonomy, it has affirmed that the mineral-rich territory must remain under its sovereignty. The Polisario Movement, on the other hand, demands a referendum on the region’s independence. 

On June 8 last year, Algeria suspended its friendship treaty with Spain after Madrid reversed decades of neutrality toward Western Sahara. The North African country also imposed a blockade on Spain, and the countries have not been trading, except for gas sales, since then. 

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