Algerian Foreign Minister, Ramtane Lamamra, is reported to have avoided Spain's offer to mediate in its dispute with neighbouring Morocco.
Spain's El Pais newspaper said Lamamra travelled to the Senegalese capital, Dakar, to attend the eighth gathering of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), instead of attending the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) meeting in Barcelona earlier this week. Spanish Foreign Minister, Jose Manuel Albares, had planned to offer to mediate between Algeria and Morocco.
The paper added that the Algerian foreign minister "apologised at the last minute for not participating."
The Spanish foreign minister had previously described Algeria and Morocco as "essential partners" for Spain and the European Union.
"We in Spain will always work for détente, for good-neighbourliness, and for cooperation to build the Mediterranean. Dialogue is essential in this regard," he said.
Relations between Algeria and its western neighbour have deteriorated in recent months, mainly because of the Western Sahara issue, where Morocco has been in conflict with the Algiers-backed Polisario group. However, relations between the two countries are traditionally complex.
On 24 August, Algeria decided to sever diplomatic relations with Rabat. A month later, it announced the closure of Algerian airspace to all Moroccan civil and military aircraft.
OPINION: Why did Spain offer to mediate between Algeria and Morocco?