Russia Reaffirms Support for Political Solution in Western Sahara

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov , and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourtia

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Rabat – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reaffirmed to his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita Russia’s position in favor of resolving the Western Sahara issue “exclusively” by a political process.

The Russian diplomat made his declaration during a phone conversation with Bourita on Wednesday, according to Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Lavrov stressed the importance of addressing the Western Sahara dispute following diplomatic methods “on a generally recognized international legal basis.”

In January 2019, Lavarov said in a joint press conference with Bourita that an end to the Western Sahara dispute should come in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.

The Russian diplomat’s reaffirmation consolidates growing support for Morocco’s position in favor of the UN-led process to resolve the Western Sahara question.

Russia’s reiteration of support for the political process follows that of France on Tuesday.

Commenting on the recent events in Guerguerat, a spokesperson of the French foreign ministry welcomed Morocco’s commitment to the ceasefire, noting that it “must be preserved, just as the political process must be relaunched within the framework of the United Nations.”

On October 30, at the UN Security Council, the US expressed support for the UN-led political process in Western Sahara and urged the conflicting parties to resume negotiations “in good faith.”

During the 75th session of the UN General Assembly on September 27, Head of the Moroccan Government Saad Eddine El Othmani reaffirmed Morocco’s commitment to finding a political solution to the Western Sahara conflict.

El Othmani delivered a message on behalf of King Mohammed VI, stating that Morocco is “attached to the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations,” including the “peaceful resolution of disputes and respect for the national sovereignty of states and their territorial integrity.”

Russia on Guerguerat

During the diplomatic phone call between Bourita and Lavarov, the Russian official appealed to the conflicting parties to “de-escalate the tension” and strengthen the cessation of hostilities in Guerguerat.

After more than three weeks of a Polisario-led blockade of traffic between Morocco and Mauritania, the North African country decided to act in the buffer zone to end Polisario’s hostilities.

Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces (FAR) managed to end the illegal occupation of the Guerguerat border crossing  on November 13 and established a “security cordon” to ensure the resumed flow of people and goods between Morocco and Mauritania.

FAR labeled the action in Guerguerat as a “non-offensive operation,” while the Mauritanian public and media expressed relief over the resumption of commercial activity via Morocco.

Morocco’s operation in Guerguerat has earned statements of support from countries in Africa and the Arab world.

Arab countries who have formally welcomed Morocco’s operation include Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, Oman, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.

In Africa, Somalia, Guinea-Bissau, Zambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Gabon, Djibouti, Comoros, and the Central African Republic expressed support for Morocco’s action in Guerguerat.

Read also: Guerguerat: French Jurist Outlines Legality of Morocco’s Action