The Mauritanian president’s statement comes as Morocco takes steps to boost cooperation with Mauritania, one of the parties to the Western Sahara conflict.
In a statement to local news outlet Zahrat Chinguett, the president said Mauritania’s position has not and will not change “because it is in line with the principles of the country’s foreign policy.”
El Ghazouani said that while Mauritania does recognize the self-proclaimed SADR, it maintains its position of neutrality due to the relationship between the various parties and the sensitivity of the file.
Mauritania, Algeria, Morocco and the Polisario Front are all parties to the decades-long conflict.
The statement from Mauritania’s President comes as the Moroccan government sets its diplomatic sights on Nouakchott, hoping to strengthen cooperation with the neighboring country.
Last month, Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita flew to Mauritania to hold a series of meetings with government officials in Nouakchott.
During the visit, Bourita expressed Morocco’s commitment to boosting cooperation in the security field to address terror challenges, especially in the Sahel.
El Ghazouani’s statement also comes at a time when the Polisario Front is under pressure from Morocco’s diplomatic achievements after several African countries decided to open general consulates in Laayoune and Dakhla, cities in Moroccan Western Sahara.
The Polisario questioned Mauritania’s neutrality in 2019, after the country failed to mention the Western Sahara conflict during the 74th session of the General Assembly at the UN on September 24.
Pro-Polisario news outlets heavily criticized the Mauritanian president, describing his decision as “cynical” and politically motivated.