Morocco’s King discussed tensions in Western Sahara and greater bilateral collaboration in a phone call with Mauritania’s president.
Rabat – King Mohammed VI today spoke to Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani about regional tensions and collaboration. During a phone call, the two heads of state discussed recent developments in Western Sahara and a deepening of cooperation between the neighboring countries.
King Mohammed VI expressed his willingness to visit Mauritania and extended an invitation to Mauritania’s President El Ghazouani to visit Morocco, which the King called “your second country.” The phone call came after a week of tension at the Morocco-Mauritania border. On November 13, Morocco’s armed forces lifted a blockade on the one road connecting the two countries.
A visit by King Mohammed VI to Mauritania would be the first of its kind since 2001 and the prospect likely highlights a warming of relations. Border tensions related to the Western Sahara dispute had led to a deterioration of bilateral relations for many years.
The two countries have recently worked to expand bilateral cooperation, which King Mohammed VI and President El Ghazouani pledged to further deepen during today’s discussion.
Mauritania felt the impact of the three-week blockade of its border with Morocco. Vital imports of fruits and vegetables were unable to cross the border at Guerguerat, sending prices skyrocketing in Mauritania.
Mauritania’s press and people received the lifting of the siege warmly. Media immediately welcomed the resumption of the free flow of goods and services.
Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in a February meeting with El Ghazouani emphasized King Mohammed VI’s desire for “exceptional relations” with neighboring Mauritania. During his visit to Nouakchott, Bourita said that the two countries enjoy “constant ties of solid brotherhoods backed by a partnership” in trade and other fields.
King Mohammed VI and Morocco’s diplomatic core are eager to gain Mauritania’s support in the UN-led political process to find a peaceful resolution in Western Sahara, in particular through Morocco’s autonomy plan.