Algeria cuts tourism ties with Spain over Western Sahara row
The Algerian ministry of tourism requested told all tour operators to suspend tourism relations with Spain in a circular sent this week, according to The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
Travel and tourism agencies across the country were ordered to freeze reservations they made with hotels and Spanish transport companies with immediate effect, according to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, to curb the flow of Algerian tourists to Spain - the second biggest holiday destination for Algerians, after Tunisia.
It follows Algeria's suspension of a decades-old treaty with Spain earlier this month, according to the document, after Madrid backed the position of the North African country's arch-rival Morocco on the Western Sahara issue, which lies south of the Moroccan border.
Algeria has traditionally supported the Polisario Front, which has fought against Moroccan forces for independence for the region.
Algeria's measures come as a response to Spain’s U-turn of a decades-long neutral stance on Western Sahara. In March, Madrid said it would support Morocco’s autonomy plan for the region.
The plan offers limited self-government for the local Sahrawi population within Rabat’s sovereignty.
The Algeria-backed Polisario Front denounced Madrid's decision and severed ties with the Spanish government.
Algeria's decision to suspend cooperation with Spain drew the ire of the European Union, which said that the move could be a violation of EU trade law.