Rabat – After a five-year standoff, The Islamic Republic of Mauritania appointed Mohamed Lemine Ould Aboyeas its new ambassador to Morocco on Wednesday, reported Mauritania Information Agency.
The diplomatic muddle between Rabat and Nouakchott is it about to end? Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz’s decision to appoint an ambassador to Rabat, a post left vacant for the past five years, is another step towards warming relations between the two countries.
Mohammed Lemine Ould Abeye was appointed Wednesday ambassador of Mauritania to Rabat by President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz.
Morocco still has to accept the credentials of the diplomat, but this one announcement marks another important step in the timid diplomatic warming underway between the two countries.
A discreet diplomat for a symbolic appointment
Former Minister of Hydraulics and Sanitation (2008-2013), Mohammed Lemine Ould Abeye, 54, is a discreet man. He was ambassador of Mauritania to Dakar, in 2014, then to Niamey, in 2015. Post he still holds today.
Mohammed Lemine Ould Abeye already knows Rabat for having studied at the Ecole Normale Superieure (ENS), where he obtained a doctorate in hydrochemistry in 1993. He will take over from Mohamed Ould Mouaouia, who left in 2012 without a successor has been appointed.
Beyond the man, it is especially the appointment which has force of symbol. Relations between Morocco and Mauritania have always been complex, particularly in view of Nouakchott’s position in the iron arm between Morocco and Algeria, his two immediate neighbors.
The tensions also originated in the question of Western Sahara – Mauritania recognized the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), and it is in Zouerate, Mauritania, that the Polisario Front was born in 1973, at the time with its enemy designated Spain.
When they are not at a standstill, relations between the two countries have steadily deteriorated over the last twenty years.
We can not count the episodes of feverish outbreaks like the one that took place a year ago, when the secretary general of the Moroccan Istiqlal, Hamid Chabat, declared that “Mauritania [is] a Moroccan land and that the enclaves of Morocco extend from Sebta [Ceuta, ed] to the Senegal River “.
A verbal slippage very undiplomatic that even led Mohammed VI to directly join the President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz .
Bouamatou and Chafi, two opponents at the center of the crisis
But more recently, it is especially the case of two virulent Mauritanian opponents who crystallized the tension between the two countries . The first, Mohammed Ould Bouamatou, a businessman active in the media, telephony and banking sectors, is targeted by a complaint for “corruption” and “expatriated” to Marrakech in 2010.
The second, Moustapha Chafi – known for his role in the negotiations of several Western hostages – lives in Rabat, although he is the subject of an international arrest warrant issued by Mauritania in 2011 for “intelligence with terrorist groups “.
As Jeune Afrique revealed at the end of September, Mauritanian Interior Minister Ahmedou Ould Abdallah asked his Moroccan counterpart, Abdelouafi Laftit, to look into the case of these two opponents.
The content of the discussions is not known, but in early October, the Moroccan ambassador to Mauritania, Hamid Chabar, obtained his accreditation, which he had been waiting for since June. He replaced Abderrahmane Benomar, who died in December 2016. And it only took a few weeks for the ambassador of Mauritania to Rabat to be appointed.