Moscow (Russian Federation), February 7, 2024 (SPS) – Director of the Middle East and North Africa Department at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Alexander Kinchak, met with a Sahrawi delegation including Dr. Sidi Mohamed Omar, member of the National Secretariat, representative of the Polisario Front at the United Nations and coordinator with MINURSO, Mrs. Fatma Al Mahdi, member of the National Secretariat and Minister of Cooperation, and Dr. Ali Salem Mohamed Fadel, representative of the Polisario Front in the Russian Federation.
The meeting, which was held at the headquarters of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the capital, Moscow, came within the framework of ongoing consultations and dialogue between the Russian and Sahrawi sides, and allowed the two sides to discuss and exchange views on several issues of common interest, including the United Nations-sponsored peace process in Western Sahara, Russian-Sahrawi relations, and other issues relevant to the regional and international situation.
The Sahrawi delegation informed its Russian interlocutors of the latest developments in the Sahrawi issue and the United Nations peace process in light of the Moroccan occupation state’s violation of the ceasefire on November 13, 2020, which imposed on the Sahrawi people to resume their legitimate armed struggle, as well as the efforts made by the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, in order to revive the peace process.
The Sahrawi delegation also recalled the readiness of the Polisario Front to enter into direct negotiations with the Moroccan side under the auspices of the United Nations in order to enable the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to complete the implementation of the mandate for which it was established by the Security Council, while emphasizing the strong determination of the Sahrawi people to continue to defend, by all legitimate means, their inalienable and non-negotiable rights to self-determination and independence.
For his part, the Russian official stressed the firmness of his country’s position on the Sahrawi issue and its support for the United Nations-sponsored peace process in Western Sahara in order to reach a just solution that guarantees the Sahrawi people their right to self-determination in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council and the United Nations General Assembly, stressing that direct negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front is the only path to a peaceful and lasting solution. The Russian official also stressed his country's absolute refusal of the imposed solutions and the unilateral steps taken by some parties, because they go against the international law and the international foundations of the settlement in Western Sahara.
It is worth noting that the Russian Federation has abstained in recent years from voting on UN Security Council resolutions related to the renewal of the mandate of MINURSO as an expression of its protest against the non-consultative and unbalanced manner in which the resolutions are formulated, and against the amendments made to the resolutions that are harmful, according to the Russian side, on the path to resolving the Western Sahara issue.
The Russian Federation abstained from voting on the latter’s Council Resolution 2703 (2023) because it does not reflect the real situation on the ground in Western Sahara and does not ultimately contribute to the efforts of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General to resume the direct negotiation process between the Polisario Front and Morocco to reach an acceptable solution for both parties.
The meeting was attended on the Russian side by officials of the Middle East and North Africa Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.