Rabat – Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov said that security in the Middle East and North Africa cannot improve without the resolution of long-drawn-out conflicts, referring to the Palestinian-Israeli and Western Sahara conflicts.
Speaking at a press conference Friday after talks with the Moroccan foreign minister Nasser Bourita, Lavrov emphasized that the Western Sahara issue should be resolved in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.
“Both must be resolved and both require strict implementation of agreements committed to paper in the United Nations Security Council resolutions, including efforts to find mutually acceptable solutions with the participation of all parties concerned in this or that crisis situation,” Russian news agency TASS quoted him as saying.
The Russian minister stressed that his country does not back one party at another’s expense. “The friendly relations that we have with the countries in the region is not for the benefit of one party against another,” Moroccan media quoted him as saying.
Lavrov is in Morocco, on the last day of a four-day official visit which took him to Tunisia and Algeria as well.
The Russian minister expressed his gratitude to King Mohammed VI for the audience he granted him Friday evening at the Royal Palace of Rabat.
The audience, said Lavrov, proves the mutual trust and bilateral cooperation between the two countries. Moscow and Rabat share the determination to implement agreements made during the King’s visit to Russia in March 2016.
Lavrov gave the King “greetings and a message of friendship” from Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a press release from the Royal Cabinet.
“For his part, King Mohammed VI extended an official invitation to President Putin to visit Morocco.”
Lavrov pointed out that both countries made progress in trade and investment.
Foreign minister Bourita said noted that trade between Russia and Morocco increased by 13 percent last year.
Boasting of the strong relations between Rabat and Moscow, Bourita said that “Morocco is Russia’s second [business] partner in the Arab world and Africa and look forward to be the first partner and Russia’s gateway to the continent.”
He stressed that Morocco seeks to boost business partnerships in several sectors such as agriculture, tourism, fisheries, and energy.