Algeria has disavowed the Association of Banks and Financial Institutions (ABEF), which just over a day ago announced a return to normal trade with Spain on the grounds that the precautionary measures against the Spanish nation were unnecessary.
The Algerian state said on Saturday that trade links with Spain "are the exclusive prerogative of the state and not of professional organisations, such as the Association of Banks and Financial Institutions (ABEF)", according to a statement published by the official news agency APS.
On 9 June, Algeria decreed the suspension of direct debits linked to foreign trade between the North African country and Spain, which meant a total blockage of transactions, fully affecting commercial operations between the two nations, which are closely linked in this respect, affecting many entrepreneurs and traders who have important business derived from the commercial activity established between the two countries. This decision, which was a major economic blow to the commercial sector, was the result of the Spanish government's decision to recognise Morocco's proposal for a solution to the Western Sahara conflict as the "most serious, credible and realistic" within the UN's postulates. This position caused great anger in Algeria, a political rival of the Alaouite kingdom in the Maghreb and the main ally of the Polisario Front, which advocates holding a referendum on independence for the Sahrawi people, which has less international support than the Moroccan proposal, which advocates broad autonomy for the Sahrawi region under the sovereignty of the Kingdom and has been supported by countries as important as the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.
Subsequently, on 28 July, the bank employers' association ABEF announced the lifting of the restrictions, but now the Algerian state has disavowed them, which is a major setback for bilateral relations.
The announcement of the lifting of restrictions had been welcomed in Algeria and Spain because it was a step towards resuming commercial operations. Djamel Eddine Bouabdallah, president of the Algerian-Spanish Circle of Trade and Industry, described the move as "a very important step" and expressed his satisfaction at the return to "normal trade".
This supposed return to normality was expected due to the important economic and trade relations between Spain and Algeria. But now comes this setback with the maintenance of a closed stance on the part of the Algerian state.
It seems that the Algerian administration does not take into account the economic and commercial aspect, and that the political issue derived from the conflict with Morocco, which in this case affects Spain, continues to weigh more heavily.
The ABEF (which brings together some thirty banks and financial establishments operating in Algeria) "is a professional association and defends the interests of its members", according to a note from the official agency APS, also reported by the EFE agency.
This communiqué also points out that "the allegations made, for the moment, by certain media about Algeria's alleged backtracking on its trade relations with Spain are erroneous, because no official information has been made public in this regard by the competent authorities or institutions".
"Decisions on financial and commercial matters that involve the State are taken by the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Finance or the Bank of Algeria and are announced through official channels," the official note said.