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Morocco, Algeria vying for Portugal’s support on Western Sahara issue

May 26, 2023 at 11:24 am

President of Algeria, Abdelmadjid Tebboune in Algiers, Algeria on March 12, 2023 [Algerian Presidency/Anadolu Agency]

Algeria is working to enhance cooperation with both Italy and Portugal in an effort to weaken Spain’s influence in North Africa, experts have said.

Citing Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s official visit to Portugal, they said this comes after his visit to France was postponed

Algeria’s Echorouk newspaper wrote at the beginning of the visit that it aims to besiege Morocco and Spain. Tebboune’s visit came a week after Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch made a visit to Lisbon.

Portugal seeks to benefit from Morocco and Algeria in the fields of political and economic cooperation. It has not involved itself in supporting either side in the Western Sahara dispute, insisting that its position is to support the UN process without favouring one solution over another, and has signed friendship agreements with both countries.

Two weeks ago, Portugal signed major agreements with Morocco in various economic fields within the framework of the 14th summit between the two countries, after years of not holding these summits. This week, Portugal also signed agreements of no less importance with Algeria during Tebboune’s visit.

In the last three years, Algeria has opened up to Italy in response to the crisis with France, and has raised the level of cooperation with Rome in response to the crisis with Spain due to the support of the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez for Morocco’s autonomy initiative for the Western Sahara.

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