Algeria suspends friendship treaty with Spain over Western Sahara issue

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ALGIERS, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Algeria on Wednesday announced suspension of the Treaty of Friendship, Good-neighborliness and Cooperation signed with Spain 20 years ago to protest the country's shift in position on Western Sahara, official APS news agency reported, citing a presidential statement.

The announcement came hours after Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez reportedly said his government's policy shift on Western Sahara has "improved (Spain's) bilateral relations with Morocco."

In March, the Spanish government shifted its long-standing position on Western Sahara by endorsing Morocco's autonomy plan for the territory, paving the way for easing diplomatic tensions between the two kingdoms.

The new Spanish position "violates international legitimacy, and directly contributes to the deterioration of the situation in Western Sahara and the region as a whole," the presidential statement said.

The friendship treaty agreed on Oct. 8, 2002 with Spain has framed the development of bilateral relations between Algiers and Madrid, it noted.

Western Sahara is claimed by Morocco, but the Algeria-based Polisario Front movement has been fighting for its independence.

Algeria recalled its ambassador to Spain in March after the position shift of the Spanish government on Western Sahara. Enditem

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