In an article published Monday, the Algerian press agency reported that Madrid and Algiers share the same opinions on the Western Sahara dispute and the Palestinian cause, quoting Spain’s ambassador to the country. On Tuesday, a Spanish diplomatic source says Algeria misinterpreted the diplomat’s words.

On Monday, the Algerian Press agency (APS) reported that Spain’s ambassador to Algeria Fernando Moran announced, during a meeting held with the President of the National’s People’s Congress Mouad Bouchareb, that Madrid and Algiers shares a similar position on the Western Sahara conflict.

In its article, APS quoted the Spanish diplomat who, reportedly, stated that Madrid and Algiers «adopt similar opinions», regarding the territorial dispute, comparing the Western Sahara dispute to the Palestinian cause.

Once published by the Algerian press agency, Moran’s alleged declaration was relayed by pro-Polisario online newspaper Futuro Sahara. However, the original article made public by APS was deleted a few hours after its publishing.

Lost in translation

On Tuesday, French-language newspaper Le360 contacted the Spanish Foreign Ministry in Madrid. The latter said that what was published by APS is far from the truth, stressing that «the ambassador’s words on the Western Sahara conflict were misinterpreted».

The same source told Le360 that Spain «will send an accurate translation of what the ambassador» said during his meeting, adding that «Spain's position on Western Sahara has not changed and that it goes hand in hand with the principles of the United Nations».

However, Algeria’s misinterpretation of the Spanish ambassador’s words come at a very special time. As announced Monday by the ministry of royal household, protocol and chancellery, King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain will pay an official visit to the Kingdom of Morocco on Feb. 13-14, 2019.

The royal couple will be received by King Mohammed VI in Rabat and the two sovereigns will preside over the signing of agreements between the two countries.

For the record, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia have postponed their visit several times since July 2014, when the Spanish royal couple flew to Morocco for their first international tour.

The Spanish Royal Palace ranked the Morocco visit among the «priorities» of the King of Spain after he ascended the throne, but the political blockade following the 2015 general elections and the crisis in Catalonia had forced the Palace to postpone it.

Scheduled for November 2017, the visit was once again delayed due to the decision of King Mohammed VI to attend the European Union and the African Union Summit, which was held in Côte d'Ivoire. In January 2018, Morocco canceled the visit of the Spanish monarch without giving further explanations.