The Mauritanian Head of State, Lieutenant-Colonel Mustapha Ould Mohamed Salek has paid a brief visit to Rabat (18 September), for talks with Morocco's King Hassan.
The Mauritanian Head of State, Lieutenant-Colonel Mustapha Ould Mohamed Salek has paid a brief visit to Rabat (18 September), for talks with Morocco's King Hassan. The talks were aimed at finding a peaceful solution to Morocco's conflict with Algeria and the Polisario Front in the Western Sahara.
SYNOPSIS: President Salek was making his first visit to Morocco since he assumed power in Mauritania after a coup in July (1978).
He was greeted by the Moroccan head of state King Hassan. President Salek stayed only six hours in the country, but he has said that he is anxious to settle the dispute in the Western Sahara and put an end to the war being waged there. Spain ceded the Western Sahara to Morocco and Mauritania nearly three years ago, and both countries are co-operating to resolve the dispute over the territory.
Their control of the territory is challenged by the Algerian-based Polisario Front which wants independence for the sparsely-populated and phosphate rich area. Polisario Guerillas have been fighting with Morocco over the area for the last three years but they called a ceasefire in Mauritanian territory after the coup in which Lieutenant Colonel Salek took power. In an editorial in the Moroccan newspaper Le Matin the former Minister of Information Ahmed Alaqui accused the Algerians of aiding the guerrillas in order to isolate Morocco and to gain influence in the Western Sahara.
No official reason was given for this meeting in Rabat, but Reuters says the leaders concentrated on prospects for peace.