In February, the Algerian government postponed the visit of the Spanish FM after her statements about Spain’s position on Western Sahara.
The Spanish FM arrived in Algiers yesterday to discuss bilateral cooperation and Algeria’s decision to redefine its maritime borders.
Algerian press attempted to use Laya’s visit to inquire about Spain’s position on the conflict.
Laya affirmed that there is no change in Spain’s Western Sahara position during a joint press conference with her Algerian counterpart yesterday in Algiers.
Laya said she already clarified the Spanish stance during her visit to Morocco in January.
Spain will always defend the exclusivity of the UN-led political process to find an agreed-upon and mutually acceptable solution to end the conflict.
Spanish media El Pais quoted sources from the breakaway group, Polisario, who said that the Spanish FM avoided the word “self-determination” while she was speaking to the press.
Meanwhile, Algerian Foreign Affairs Minister Sabir Boukadoum called for the respect of the UN and the African Union’s decision regarding the regional conflict.
The AU made clear in a recent statement in February during the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Heads of State and Government that it supports the exclusivity of the UN political process.
Algeria, along with supporters of the Polisario Front, have long attempted to make Western Sahara a focal point at the AU. The return of Morocco to the pan-African organization, however, helped the country end the “empty chair” policy used by its opponents in the conflict.
Algeria and Polisario, seeking separatism in Western Sahara, expressed frustration after Laya’s recent comments on the issue.
Laya took to Twitter in February to reiterate that Spain does not recognize the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
She stressed that her country’s position remains unchanged, reiterating support for the UN-led political process.
The tweets came in response to a meeting between representatives of the Polisario Front and representatives from the Podemos political party—part of the Spanish government coalition—last month.
The Algerian government then postponed Laya’s visit, which was initially scheduled for February 26, just a day after her comments.
Spanish news outlet El Confidencial said Algeria claimed the visit was postponed due to the busy agenda of Gonzalez Laya’s counterpart, Boukadoum.
“But the minister has not, for now, planned any official activity that day. On Tuesday, he will meet the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who will spend only a few hours in the Algerian capital,” El Confidencial reported after the government postponed the visit of Laya.