EYEAFRICA TV: Dakar, SENEGAL: Senegal’s President Macky Sall and his neighbouring ally President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz have agreed to strengthen cooperation and good neighbourliness in a telephone conversation they had on Monday.
This short relephone meeting, which was part of the excellent relations of fraternal friendship between Senegal and Mauritania, also focused on issues of common interest.
On this occasion, the two heads of state renewed their desire to work together to strengthen these privileged ties.
In the years following independence, Mauritania’s principal friend in sub-Saharan Africa was Senegal, although the two countries have espoused different strategies for development.
The growing split between blacks and Maures in Mauritania has, however, affected ties with Senegal, which sees itself as championing the rights of Mauritania’s black minority.
Under Taya, relations between the two countries were correct, even though each accused the other of harboring exiled dissidents.
In May 1987, Senegal extradited Captain Moulaye Asham Ould Ashen, a former black member of the Haidalla government accused of corruption, but only after veiled threats from Nouakchott that failure to do so would result in Mauritania’s allowing Senegalese dissidents a platform from which to speak out against the government of then President Abdou Diouf.
At the same time, Senegal and Mauritania have cooperated successfully with Maliunder the Senegal River Development Office (Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur du Fleuve Sénégal—OMVS), which was formed in 1972 as a flood control, irrigation, and agricultural development project.
During 1989–1991, the two countries had a border war; a conflict that began around disputes over the two countries’ River Senegal border and grazing rights, and resulted in the rupture of diplomatic relations between the two countries for several years.
The conflict created thousands of refugees from both sides a significant impact on domestic Senegalese politics.