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The Polisario was not invited to the October War festivities in Ethiopia, says Egypt's ambassador

Morocco’s ambassador to Ethiopia withdrew from a reception held by the Egyptian embassy in Addis Ababa because of the Polisario. A few days after, the Egyptian ambassador in the Kingdom and the Polisario brought their version of the story.

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Ashraf Ibrahim, Egypt's ambassador to Morocco./Ph. DR

On Friday, 12th of October, the Egyptian diplomatic mission in Ethiopia hosted a reception, commemorating the 1973 Arab–Israeli War, fought by several Arab countries including Morocco. The festivities, however, were reportedly interrupted by the presence of a Polisario delegation.

Reports suggest that the Moroccan ambassador to Addis Ababa Nezha Alaoui M'hamdi, who was invited to the ceremony, has notified the Egyptian diplomatic mission about the presence of a Polisario representative after withdrawing from the reception.

Egypt denies all rumors 

Replying to the situation, Egypt’s ambassador to Morocco Ashraf Ibrahim said on Tuesday, 16th of October, that his country did not send an invitation to «the Polisario representative».

Quoted by Egyptian online newspaper Youm7, Ibrahim indicated that the Front’s «representative in Ethiopia sneaked into the reception without making it through the queue where attendees had to have their invitations checked by the embassy’s staff».

The diplomat also explained that the Egyptian mission did not notice him entering until the moment he was exiting the reception, held in a hotel in Addis Ababa.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim, did not miss the opportunity to recall that Cairo does not recognize the «Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic», stressing that his country supports the Western Sahara autonomy plan submitted by Morocco in 2006.

The Polisario's version of the story

A few days later, however, the Polisario Front reacted to the crisis, bringing a different version of the story. Speaking to pro-Polisario online newspaper Futuro Sahara, a «diplomatic» source within the Front said that «the Sahrawi diplomatic mission» was not invited to the ceremony.

But at the same time, the source confirmed that the Front’s representative was at the same hotel where the Egyptian festivities took place. «The Sahrawi official was staying at the same hotel», said the same source, adding that «it was just a coincidence».

It is not the first time that a Moroccan diplomatic mission withdraws this month from an event abroad because of the Front. On October the 6th, a diplomatic delegation headed by Mohsine Jazouli decided to leave the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) after realizing that a Polisario delegation was taking part in the summit hosted by Japan.

This came as the Japanese Foreign Minister promised his Moroccan counterpart last year to reconsider the participation of the Front at the summit.

Commenting on what happened at TICAD, Japan's Foreign Minister stated that «even if an entity, which declares itself as a 'country' and that Japan does not recognize, is sitting in this room, it does not mean that Japan recognizes it in any way implicitly or explicitly as a state».

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