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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05RABAT2511
2005-12-16 13:56:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Rabat
Cable title:  

DEPUTY FM ON VISIT OF MAURITANIAN JUNTA LEADER FAL

Tags:   MO  PGOV  PREL 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO9572
OO RUEHTRO
DE RUEHRB #2511/01 3501356
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 161356Z DEC 05
FM AMEMBASSY RABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2309
INFO RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 3612
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2691
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID PRIORITY 5285
RUEHNK/AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT PRIORITY 2897
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 3915
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 8523
RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA PRIORITY 0979
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHTRO/USLO TRIPOLI PRIORITY 0056
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 RABAT 002511 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/MAG, AF

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/30/2010
TAGS: MO PGOV PREL
SUBJECT: DEPUTY FM ON VISIT OF MAURITANIAN JUNTA LEADER FAL

REF: A. RABAT 2475


B. RABAT 2425

C. NOUAKCHOTT 1320 AND PREVIOUS

RABAT 00002511 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: Pol/C Timothy Lenderking for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (C) During a wide-ranging meeting on December 1 (Refs A
and B), Ambassador asked Deputy FM Fassi Fihri for a read-out
of Mauritanian junta leader Fal's November 20-21 visit to
Morocco. Colonel Fal met with King Mohammed in Marrakech on
November 21, and the visit was widely covered in the Moroccan
press. The two countries signed agreements in the field of
agriculture, fisheries, and drinking water. Most importantly
for the Moroccans, Colonel Fal publicly underscored
Mauritanian support for a solution to the Western Sahara
issue agreed to by all parties under the auspices of the
United Nations.



2. (C) Fassi Fihri told the Ambassador that Morocco was
interested in Mauritania for strategic reasons. While
Morocco did not appreciate "for legal and political reasons"
the method in which the junta had seized power, the situation
in Mauritania was better now than it was a year ago. There
was a new dynamic in the country. Morocco believed Colonel
Fal was delivering; there was no contradiction between what
he promised to do and what he was doing. In fact, Fal had
advanced the transition period toward elections to March
2007, Fassi Fihri pointed out.



3. (C) Fassi Fihri said Fal sought King Mohammed's advice on
the transition to democracy. The King told him to stay on
the track he is on and not disappoint the expectations he had
created.



4. (C) According to Fassi Fihri, there is strong competition
between political parties in Mauritania in light of the
upcoming elections, and some parties were reaching out to
Moroccan political parties for dialogue and support. Fassi
Fihri said Morocco did not want to encourage such contacts
without discussing the issue first with Fal. During his
visit, Fal assured Morocco such contacts were not a problem.



5. (C) Fassi Fihri noted the political season would start
heating up in earnest in Mauritania in the spring, and the
competition would be intense, perhaps creating "tension,"
especially as individual candidates were announced. What
would happen to ex-President Taya's party, for example, of
which current Mauritanian Ambassador to Morocco Cheyakh Ould
Ely was a member, Fassi Fihri wondered? Ambassador Ould Ely
tried to impress upon the GOM the importance of his party as
a counterweight to the Islamists. "Don't forget about us,"
he says. Fassi Fihri said Fal did not believe he could open
the political space for the Islamists. Some groups were
establishing links with the Islamists and presenting
themselves as having foreign support. He said as far as the
GOM could tell "no one" in Mauritania was talking about
ex-President Taya.



6. (C) Fassi Fihri said the important thing was to avoid
surprises in Mauritania. One area of concern was the
participation of the "Black Moors" in the political process.
Taya had pushed many of them into Senegal; Morocco intervened
to bring them back, more than 10,000 people. Fal had told
the Moroccans the reintegration needed to happen slowly.



7. (C) Fassi Fihri said Morocco understood US concerns about
the regime in Nouakchott, but on the whole Mauritania was
better off now than before; it was more open, more
democratic. Fal had advanced the timetable for elections as
far as he could. March 2007 was less than 18 months away.
It could not be sooner than that. The economic situation in
Mauritania was bad, though Mauritania was "anticipating" the
revenue from oil, even making sales before production. The
US should be pragmatic about Mauritania, Fassi Fihri advised,
welcoming further discussion between the US and Morocco on
this subject.



8. (C) Fassi Fihri added that Mauritania is a frequent topic
of discussion between Morocco and Libya.

Comment


--------------------------





9. (C) As this meeting suggests, Morocco takes a keen

RABAT 00002511 002.2 OF 002


interest in Mauritania. Morocco's primary equities are
maintaining Mauritanian support for Morocco's position on the
Western Sahara issue, ensuring stability on its southern
flank, and maintaining a hospitable climate in Nouakchott for
Moroccan economic interests. Maroc Telecom owns a majority
stake in Mauritanian telephone company Mauritel, and several
Moroccan banks and insurance companies are represented there.
In recent years the Government of Morocco has provided
assistance to Mauritania in the areas of education and
military leadership training (Colonel Fal attended a military
training school in Morocco), and provided substantial in-kind
and monetary assistance during the desert locust invasion in


2004. Morocco moved quickly to establish positive contact
with the Fal junta following the coup, dispatching security
chief Yassine Mansouri with a message from the King in
August. The GOM has wasted little time in sizing up and
making known its support for the new regime in Nouakchott.

Bush