The Polisario Front announced on Tuesday that it is not attending the Russia-Africa Summit which is scheduled to open on Wednesday in Sochi. The event is the first of its kind in the history of Russian-African relations, and not the African Union.



On Tuesday, the Polisario Front announced that it is not attending the Russia-Africa Summit, Moscow’s first Africa-focused event.


Its announcement was made public by Sahara SNN, a pro-Polisario news platform, only one day after the start of the summit, which is expected to take place on October 23rd and 24th in Sochi. The Pro-Polisario platform explained that Russia has organized this meeting «outside the framework of partnership with the African Union».


It also stated that the Sochi meeting is not a partnership summit co-organized by the African Union, but it is part of «a unilateral Russian initiative».


And to back its argument, the Polisario Front stressed that the «African Union has not signed a partnership agreement with Russia (…) because the bodies of the regional organization (…) have not yet decided on the creation of an institutional partnership with Moscow». Thus, the African Union Commission «did not prepare [the summit] with Russia and did not send invitations to African Union member states».


Inviting 54 African countries


The Russia–Africa Summit is said to be the first event of its kind in the history of Russian-African relations, to which the head of every African state and the leaders of major regional associations and organizations have been invited, the organizers of the meeting said.


Indeed, the Kremlin has said that Russia expects 47 African leaders to attend the meeting. In addition to the attendees, the summit will be co-chaired by the Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdelfattah Alsisi, who is also the African Union Chairman.


Quoting Russian news agency TAAS, London-based newspaper Asharq Al Awsat reported that «invitations were sent to 54 African Union countries». A list that automatically excludes the Polisario Front.


A source close to the file confirmed to Yabiladi that the Polisario Front was not invited to the Sochi summit. «Morocco has always campaigned for a similar configuration [African countries or Africa] as a framework for these partnerships», the same source concluded.