The foreign ministers of Spain and Algeria have assured Wednesday in Algiers that there is no disagreement between the two governments over the delimitation of the maritime borders in the Mediterranean, but that they are “one hundred percent agree” that when there is an overlap Arancha González Laya must be negotiated, in the words of the Spanish.
“The two have the right to set their maritime borders according to the UN norms and we both agree that when there is an overlap of the maritime areas, a negotiation will have to be opened to reach an agreement, we agree that there is no place for unilateralism, “said the minister.
Thus, he has concluded that there is no “problem with the setting of maritime borders” and has even affirmed that “the agreement is so strong” that both countries can make “a step by two, such is the tune”.
“We don’t want any island, neither Cabrera, nor Ibiza, we want to work in cooperation with our Spanish neighbors,” said the Algerian, Sabri Bukadum. Algeria, he stressed, is a “peaceful country” that has no intention of antagonizing a “neighbor and friend.”
González Laya explained that, according to the Law of the Sea, all coastal countries can declare an exclusive economic zone of 200 maritime miles, but when there is “overlap” with that of another country, both must open a negotiation.
So far this has not occurred, “because there has been nothing more than an expression of the will on the part of Algeria” to delimit that maritime border, “just as there is a will of Spain.” The negotiation will take place “when the time comes” and “when deemed necessary”.
The two ministers have stressed that relations between Spain and Algeria “enjoy very good health in all areas” and the Spanish has informed his colleague that the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, would like to travel to Algeria in April. The two countries also prepare their High Level Meeting between the two governments, but the next meeting should be held in Spain.
González Laya has expressed the intention of the Spanish Government to support the new Algerian Executive, “a neighboring country and friend but also a strategic partner”. Only the minister’s trip, the first of the new Government that travels to this country, aims to be “a strong signal” of the links between the two – the trip has come after two failed attempts.
Spain wants to pass “at the next speed” the energy relationship – half of the gas that Spain imports comes from Algeria – but the two ministers have also addressed other issues such as stability in Libya and the Sahel, in addition to their cooperation “effective”, in the words of the Spanish minister, against terrorism in relation to migration.
MOROCCO AND THE WATERS OF WESTERN SÁHARA
Asked about Western Sahara and the fact that Morocco, in its own maritime delimitation law, includes the waters of this territory, González Laya recalled that, also in Morocco, what has been done is “a first step” of expressing “the will to delimit”.
Thus, he pointed out that Spain agrees with Morocco, as it is with Algeria, that when there is overlap of water from two countries there must be an agreement. However, it has not specifically ruled on the impact on Western Sahara, beyond insisting that the Spanish position is “defending the centrality of the UN” to resolve this conflict.
González Laya has reaffirmed the support for the efforts of the UN Secretary General to reach a “political solution in the framework of Security Council resolutions” and, to questions from journalists, has acknowledged that this is “an important piece “the appointment of a new special envoy, a position that has been vacant since the German Horst Köhler resigned for health reasons in May 2019.