Algeria Says It Respects All Gas Commitments With Spain

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(Bloomberg) —

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Algeria said it would respect all its gas commitments with Spain, days after its freezing of a two-decade-old treaty raised questions over energy supplies for the European nation.

The North African country also called on Spanish companies to fulfill their contractual obligations, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

Algeria on Wednesday said it was suspending its freedom and cooperation pact with Spain over the European country’s stance on Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony in Africa over which Morocco claims sovereignty. Algerian banks were subsequently ordered to stop payments between Algeria and Spain.

The steps escalated a diplomatic crisis that began earlier this year when Madrid reversed its longstanding policy of neutrality and backed Morocco’s plan for limited autonomy for Western Sahara, which has mostly been under Rabat’s control since Spain left in the 1970s.

That helped end a Spanish-Morocco spat, but in turn angered Algeria, which backs a movement seeking independence for the disputed territory.

Spain imports substantial amounts of natural gas from Algeria and after Wednesday’s announcement it wasn’t immediately clear if those flows would be affected.

Spain’s Naturgy Energy Group SA on Thursday said it was “business as usual” with Sonatrach Group, Algeria’s state energy firm.

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