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Western Sahara : Russia backs the relaunching of direct negotiations

Russia expressed its position on the Western Sahara conflict on Wednesday, backing the relaunching of direct negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario. Moscow, however, wants Algeria and Mauritania to be part of the talks.

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The UN Personal Envoy to Western Sahara Horst Kohler./Ph. DR

Russia notes «with satisfaction that Horst Kohler, Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara and former President of Germany, is stepping up efforts to get the peace process going by resuming direct talks without preconditions between the two protagonists», says the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakhrova in a press briefing held on Wednesday, 15th of August.

Algeria and Mauritania

The Russian Foreign ministry believes that Algeria and Mauritania should take part in the talks as observers. It also insists that «the efforts to develop an acceptable conflict resolution approach for the parties to the conflict – Morocco and the POLISARIO Front – undertaken under the auspices of the United Nations have been repeatedly disrupted for various reasons».

«Meanwhile, the fragile local status quo causes serious concern, because it is fraught with major challenges to regional security», added the same source.

The Russian Federation supports the relaunching of direct negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front. It also argues that it doesn’t see «any sensible alternative to searching for a compromise based on the well-known resolutions of the Security Council and the UN General Assembly within the framework of procedures consistent with the UN Charter’s principles and goals».

«We operate on the premise that lasting peace in Western Sahara can be achieved exclusively by political means. While maintaining contacts with all interested parties, we will continue to help create positive dynamics in order to achieve a Western Sahara settlement», concludes Maria Zakharova.

Morocco demands the participation of Algeria

Russia’s position comes as the personal envoy for Western Sahara is preparing to invite the two parties in question to attend a new round of talks before the end of this year.

Direct negotiations that will take place six years after a 9th round of informal talks held in March 2012. They were initiated by Peter van Walsum, who was appointed by the UN as a special envoy for Western Sahara, in 2007 following the adoption of resolution 1754.

These talks took place in Manhasset (United States) and were attended by representatives from Morocco and the Polisario under the auspices of the UN.

In fact, Morocco refuses to have direct negotiations with the Polisario. On top of that, it demands the participation of Algeria, as a party of the conflict.

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