In the last days, the dispute between Algeria and Italy and with Spain as well surfaced on the issue of maritime borders within the framework of the so-called exclusive economic zone (ZEE), although the issue dates back to the spring of 2018, but the emergence of this dispute was accompanied by many questions, perhaps the most prominent of which is the secret of the silence of Rome and Madrid on this sensitive and strategic file, at the time of the nefarious gang in Algeria, as the issue was raised now and at this particular time.
The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha Gonzales Laia, announced the programming of an official visit to Algeria next Wednesday, and the business tour mainly includes the issue of maritime borders between the two countries, within the framework of what is known as the exclusive economic zone, according to which the Algerian borders have become adjacent to the Balearic Islands.
The vexed issue prompted the Spanish newspaper “El Mundo”, to accuse Algeria of invading the island of Caprera, according to the landmarks of the new maritime borders drawn up by Algeria.
And previously Italy accused Algeria was expanding freely at its expense in a unilateral way in what is also known as the exclusive eonomic marine zone corresponding to the island of Sardinia, and the Italian state minister for foreign affairs Manlio Di Stefano is also expected in Algeria in the coming days on an official visit, one of the causes of which is the issue of maritime borders.
But it is necessary to raise some questions related to this issue, and perhaps the most important is this one.
Why did Italy and Spain keep silent for so long and talk now specifically about the issue, despite the fact that the demarcation of the maritime borders from the Algerian side was carried out in March and April 2018, respectively.
Referring to the official gazette of the Algerian Republic, former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika signed a presidential decree to define new landmarks for the special economic sea area off Sardinia, Italy on March 21, 2018 and another demarcation decree off the Spanish Balearic Islands in April of the same year.
During this entire period, why did Rome and Madrid not move to protest and put the issue to negotiations with the relevant authorities openly and in particular with the Algerian authorities, who signed the relevant decrees at the time, that is, under the former president and the government of former Premier Ahmed Ouyahia, but the reality says that the issue has until now remained strangely suspicious, far from any media coverage in both Spain and Italy.
In other words, why did Italy and Spain remain silent during the time of the nefarious gang in Algeria regarding the new features of the maritime borders, despite the numerous visits exchanged in both directions, and they spoke now about it and in this particular juncture two years after the issuance of the decrees setting the Algerian maritime borders with these two countries.
The last question is how Algeria will respond and deal with this resentment and the Italian-Spanish refusal to demarcate the maritime borders, especially since these two countries are considered one of Algeria’s largest external partners, especially those related to exporting LNG gas via pipelines.