Algeria terminates gas deal with Morocco

The oil and gas sector is the backbone of Algeria's economy

Algeria has announced it will not renew a gas-supply agreement with Morocco days after severing diplomatic relations with its North African neighbour.

Rabat is currently taking 900,000 cubic metres per year of Algerian natural gas from the Maghreb-Europe pipeline which runs from Algeria to Spain and Portugal through Moroccan territories.

The contract with Morocco expires in October.

In a meeting with the Spanish ambassador, Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab said Spain’s gas would be provided in future via an alternative pipeline called Medgaz, which connects from Beni Saf in Algeria to Almeria in Spain without going through Morocco.

It has capacity of eight billion cubic metres a year, which can be increased, according to Mr Arkab.

On Tuesday, Algeria cut ties with Morocco, accusing Rabat of “hostile actions” for backing Tizi Ouzou separatists.

Morocco has dismissed the accusations as “absurd”.

The two countries have long had a fractious relationship – especially over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

Rising diplomatic tension between Algeria and Morocco

After months of high tensions between Algeria and Morocco, Algiers announced the cessation of diplomatic relations with Rabat. The Algerian government accuses the Moroccan kingdom of constantly carrying out hostile actions against Algeria, of waging war against the Algerian people and its leaders.

The disagreements between the two countries over Western Sahara, the normalisation of relations between Morocco and Israel, and most recently in July, Morocco’s call at the United Nations for the independence of the people of Kabylia in the Algerian region, have taken toll on the diplomatic ties of the two neighbouring countries.

“Algeria rejects to be subjected to such acts and behaviors. Algeria also rejects the logic of the unilateral policies with their disastrous consequences on the peoples of the Maghreb region. Algeria reject to maintain abnormality which aims at retaining the countries of the Maghreb region within a constant state of insecurity,” said Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra.

The Kingdom of Morocco had criticised the move by Algeria and labelled it “completely unjustified but expected” unilateral decision.

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