During the Polisario Front’s visit to Moscow led by the Saharawi coordinator of MINURSO, Mhamed Khaddad, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, stressed the need to “intensify the coordinated efforts of the international community with a view to achieving a just settlement” in the Sahara.
The Russian Deputy Minister, who is the Special Representative of the President of Russia for the Middle East and Africa, received on Thursday a delegation of the Polisario Front visiting Moscow led by Khaddad.
The information, published by the Algerian media, indicates that the two sides also exchanged views on the upcoming discussions of renewal of MINURSO in April next year of the Security Council.
After the news was reported by many Moroccan media, noticing the “warm” welcome Moscow reserved to the Polisario delegation, the Russian embassy in Rabat felt the need to explain the details of this meeting in the form of a communique sent to many Moroccan news outlets:
“Regarding the meeting of the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for the Middle East and the countries of Africa, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Mr. Bogdanov, with the Polisario Front delegation.
On March 23, the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for the Middle East and the countries of Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Mr Bogdanov, received the delegation of the Polisario Front, led by Mr. Khaddad, the head of the Front’s External Affairs Committee, invited to Moscow by the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
During the meeting, the two sides exchanged views on the development of the situation regarding the settlement of the conflict in Western Sahara in light of the preparations of the renewal of the mandate of MINURSO review.
Mr. Khaddad expressed the view of the Polisario, which is one of the conflicted parties in the current situation.
The Russian side confirmed the immutability of Russia’s position, based on the need to find a mutually acceptable political solution to this long-standing problem on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions. With this, Moscow emphasized its willingness to continue working in this direction in concert with all interested parties, in particular with the partners of the ‘Group of Friends of Western Sahara.’
In addition, Russia stressed the need to intensify the efforts of the international community to achieve a long-term equitable settlement for Western Sahara, taking into account the fundamental interests of the peoples of the And contributing to the improvement of the situation in the Maghreb.”
Moreover, a public channel devoted time to the delegation accompanying the Front Coordinator with MINURSO. A deputy from the righteous Russia (center left) party, which supports Putin’s policy, has also spoken with representatives of Polisario.
The reception of Khaddad and his family in Moscow, just a few weeks before the April deadline in the Security Council, is raising a lot of eyebrows. Is it a message from Russia to Morocco? On April 20, 2016 in Riyadh, at the first Morocco-Gulf States Summit, King Mohammed VI declared that “April, which coincides with the Security Council meetings on the Sahara affair, has become a scarecrow which is agitated in the face of Morocco and sometimes a means of pressure or extortion.”