Western Sahara Dispute May Add to European Gas Market Turmoil

© REUTERS / LEE SMITHFlames come out of a domestic gas ring of an oven in Durham, Britain, September 23, 2021.
Flames come out of a domestic gas ring of an oven in Durham, Britain, September 23, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.10.2021
Western Sahara remains a bone of contention between Algeria and Morocco as Rabat is frustrated over Algiers' support for the Polisario Front. The movement is seeking Western Sahara's independence from Morocco.
The European gas market may face "more strain" in the near future amid the ongoing Western Sahara dispute, in which Algeria and Morocco are involved, the Financial Times (FT) reports.
Rabat, which severed ties with Algeria last month, perceives Western Sahara as Morocco's "southern province", warning against any actions it regards as a threat to its territorial integrity.
A demonstrator carries a national flag during a protest to mark the second anniversary of a mass protest movement demanding political change, in Algiers, Algeria February 22, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.09.2021
Algeria Closes Airspace to All Planes From Morocco Over 'Provocations'
In late October, Algeria reportedly plans to shut down a key pipeline delivering Algerian gas to Morocco, Spain, and Portugal, part of a protracted feud between Algiers and Rabat, which is angry about Algeria's support of the Polisario Front.
Adding fuel to the fire was Algiers accusing Rabat of playing a role in several massive forest fires on Algerian territory this past summer.

The possible closure of the Algerian pipeline may have far-reaching consequences given that Algeria reportedly "sells a lot of gas to Italy, Spain, and Portugal".

The Algeria-Morocco tensions escalated earlier this week, when the European Union Court of Justice annulled the bloc's approval of agriculture and fishing agreements that allow Morocco to export goods from Western Sahara.
In its ruling, the EU's top court pointed to a ruling dating to 2016, which had said a trade deal could only include products from Western Sahara if the people of the territory consented to and benefited from it.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro, or Polisario, was formed during the era of Spanish colonisation to fight for an independent republic of indigenous Saharawi people.
Members of the United Nations Security Council, with visiting German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, convene a meeting on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, at U.N. headquarters - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.04.2021
Western Sahara’s Polisario Front Blasts UNSC for ‘Inaction’ on Moroccan ‘Fait Accompli’
After the Spanish left in 1975, Polisario continued to fight the Moroccan and Mauritanian forces that tried to claim the territory. In a 1991 cease-fire deal, the UN recognised the Polisario Front as the legitimate representatives of the Saharawi people.
In the meantime, the price of natural gas futures in Europe broke a new record on Friday, soaring to almost $1,200 per 1,000 cubic metres, prompting governments to hammer out emergency subsidies to try to protect consumers from higher bills.
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