The Polisario Front has long sought support from Russia, building on the friendly diplomatic ties between Moscow and Algiers.
Rabat – In Russia, Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita stressed the importance of a realistic political solution to the Western Sahara conflict in an interview with Russian news outlet Sputnik.
Having arrived in Moscow for the Arab-Russian Forum, Bourita said that Morocco is not prepared to take into account “positions contrary” to UN Security Council resolutions.
The official also urged all parties to show “realism and real will to reach a solution to this conflict.”
Bourita said that Morocco has adopted a clear position in the roundtable discussions on the conflict and has long wanted to end the regional conflict which has lasted too long.
“If the other parties had a real will, Morocco has presented its initiative of autonomy,” Bourita said, suggesting that the North African country would never accept a replacement to its autonomy plan introduced in 2007 to the UN.
Bourita also asserted that some parties are “settling on their obsolete positions,” referring to Polisario and its supporter, Algeria.
He added that Morocco offers solutions and “defines its position, but it is not willing to continue discussions on non-practical and non-consensual issues.”
Realism is necessary
Commenting on March’s second roundtable discussions on Western Sahara, Bourita said that the progress was insufficient because “what is necessary today is that all the parties concerned are motivated by a real desire to move towards a realistic, practical, and consensual solution.”
Bourita’s statement is similar to what the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy Horst Kohler said by the end of the second roundtable discussion.
Kohler acknowledged that the conflict is complex and called on all parties to show realism and constructively work under the UN-led political process to end the conflict.
Kohler said, “There is still a lot of work ahead of the delegations. Nobody should expect a quick outcome.”
He also urged the parties to build trust between them in order for the talks to start to end the conflict.
After the end of each roundtable discussion, the personal envoy showed some hope that the parties would cooperate.
However, the parties involved in the conflict use their channels to accuse each other of violations.
This month, the Polisario sent two letters to the Security Council to maneuver against Morocco a few weeks ahead of the council’s meeting to adopt a new resolution on the conflict later in April.
The front, which has long been backed by Algeria, has also sought support from international powers, including Moscow, an ally of Algiers.
Despite the rapprochement between Morocco and Russia in recent years, Algeria remains a stronger ally of Russia because they share technical military cooperation.
In July 2018, Russian Ambassador to Algeria Igor Belyaev was quoted by MEMO as saying, “Moscow is keen to take the position in favour of the implementation of the United Nations resolutions.”
He added, “Russia supports what the United Nations delegates are doing to organise the referendum in Western Sahara. It also supports the efforts of UN Secretary-General Envoy, Horst Kohler, to re-launch dialogue between Morocco and the Polisario.”
In December 2018, Russian Ambassador to Morocco Valerian Shuvayev said that Russia “maintains friendly relations with the parties to the Western Sahara conflict.”
He commented that the conflict should be solved under the auspices of the UN, a statement echoed by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov who said in January 2019 that the conflict 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,” he said in an official working visit in Morocco.