Rabat - “The relation between Morocco and Mauritania is not as bad as it is claimed,” stated Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz in an interview with France 24.
Rabat – “The relation between Morocco and Mauritania is not as bad as it is claimed,” stated Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz in an interview with France 24.
When asked if Mauritania is going to appoint an ambassador to Morocco following the revamp of relations between the two countries, Abdel Aziz commented that “the relations between the two countries are good,” and that “both Morocco and Mauritania are not satisfied about the situation of their relations.”
While Abdel Aziz did not answer the question directly, he stressed the need to maintain friendly ties with Morocco.
“We [Mauritania and Morocco] are making the necessary efforts to improve our relations and situate them in the context in which they should be,” Abdel Aziz added.
Abdel Aziz went on to say that relations between the two countries are long-standing and important for both countries to build a common Maghreb.
The Mauritanian embassy in Rabat was abandoned following the retirement of the former Mauritanian ambassador to Morocco, Mohamed Ould Muawiya, in 2012.
The strain on Mauritanian-Moroccan relations was recently intensified following Istiqlal Party (PI) Secretary General Hamid Chabat’s announcement in December 2016 that “Mauritania lays on Moroccan soil and it is a land that is purely Moroccan.”
Shortly after Chabat’s statement, King Mohammed VI spoke with Ould Abdelaziz over the phone to reiterate his support for Mauritania’s territorial integrity. He also assigned Morocco’s appointed Head of Government, Abdelilah Benkirane, as his envoy to travel to Mauritania to meet Abdel Aziz and discuss past tensions, including Chabat’s statement.
After the meeting, Benkirane held a press conference, announcing that the future ties between the two countries will be further strengthened in order for Mauritanian citizens to feel that they enjoy all their rights in Morocco, with the same being true for Moroccans in Mauritania.
“Chabat’s statement,” Benkirane stressed, “does not represent the opinion of King Mohammed VI, the Moroccan government or the Moroccan people.”